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Peavey Plaza makeover challenge makes the New York Times

City Council committee votes to go ahead with a redesign of Peavey Plaza in downtown Minneapolis, despite preservationists’ concerns.

A challenge by preservationists of a city plan to redesign Peavey Plaza in downtown Minneapolis has caught the attention of the New York Times.

A city council committee voted today to  go ahead with the project.

City staff says the 37-year-old downtown park is unsafe and inaccessible. But historic preservationists say it’s the first “park plaza” in the country and that there should be a way it can be preserved.

The Times story notes that in 1999, the plaza was recognized as one of the nation’s most significant examples of landscape architecture by the American Society of Landscape Architects. Other examples were Central Park in Manhattan and the Biltmore estate in North Carolina.

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But the story notes that the plaza has seen better days:

“These days two of the plaza’s three fountains no longer work, their pumps and lines not easily replaceable. Concrete is stained and crumbling, exposing rebar. The reflecting pool is dry more often than not.”

Still, the Minneapolis Heritage Preservation Commission has denied a demolition permit.

“Even though Peavey Plaza is not a city landmark, the commission is considering it to be an historic resource worthy of further study and possible designation,” said Chad M. Larsen, chairman of the preservation commission.

The council committee voted 5-1 today to go ahead with demolition; the full council is expected to vote next week.

The proposed rebuilding of the space is forecast to cost between $8 million and $10 million.

Two Cities blog, which covers Minneapolis and St. Paul City Halls, is made possible in part by grants from The Saint Paul Foundation and the Carolyn Foundation.