Peavey Plaza Redesign Team Member Speaks Out on Process and Preservation

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Contact: Will O’Keefe
e: wokeefe@mnpreservation.org
o: 651-293-9047
c: 612-877-2380

 Peavey Plaza Redesign Team Member Speaks Out on Process and Preservation

Huffington Post article highlights lack of public process or respect for original design

(ST. PAUL, MINN.—October 25, 2011)  Yesterday evening the following article appeared on The Huffington Post: “Can Target Right What Minneapolis is About to Ruin?”. The article was written by Charles Birnbaum, founder & president of The Cultural Landscape Foundation. Mr. Birnbaum was one of the three designers originally selected in November 2010 to develop proposals for the revitalization of Peavey Plaza.

The Preservation Alliance of Minnesota (PAM) has been actively involved in the roughly two-year Peavey Plaza redesign process thus far, specifically as a member of the City of Minneapolis’ and Minnesota Orchestral Association’s Community Engagement Committee. PAM approached the redesign open to finding a compromise that would preserve the important features of M. Paul Friedberg’s signature Peavey Plaza design, now eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places, while providing for the needs of modern users. These features include the original fountains and reflecting pool and the multi-level “rooms” created in Friedberg’s signature design. A recent City of Minneapolis open house, with greater than expected attendance, included many voices in favor of preservation and reconsidering the proposed design, the first venue in which the public could view and speak out on the proposal.

PAM is concerned that the aforementioned design features preserving the essential form and character of the plaza are not evident in the proposed new design. We believe that there is a middle ground to be found between a full restoration of the Plaza and the proposed destruction of Friedberg’s landmark design. We wish to continue to make ourselves available to participate in this process to ensure a more positive outcome for Peavey Plaza and to bring additional public voices to the discussion.

About Peavey Plaza:

Peavey Plaza in Minneapolis, created by renowned landscape architect, M. Paul Friedberg, and constructed in 1975, is a landmark of modern design. Peavey was recently determined eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places, but is not formally designated a National Register site or Minneapolis landmark. PAM included the plaza on its 10 Most Endangered Historic Places list in 2008, and it was designated a Marvel of Modernism on The Cultural Landscape Foundation’s Landslide list later that same year. Many other preservation organizations, including Preserve Minneapolis, docomomo us mn, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation are concerned that the design process has not been transparent and has limited public participation in the remaking of a public resource.

About the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota

The Preservation Alliance of Minnesota (PAM) is the statewide, private, nonprofit organization advocating for the preservation of Minnesota’s historic resources. PAM was incorporated as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit in 1981 by Minnesota citizens concerned about the future of the state’s architectural and cultural landmarks. Since then, PAM has grown into a network representing thousands of voices across the state. Beyond our membership, PAM collaborates and partners with other organizations and agencies from the national to the local level.

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