Minneapolis’ Peavey Plaza Listed in National Register of Historic Places

Minneapolis’ Peavey Plaza Listed in National Register of Historic Places

(ST. PAUL, MN—JANUARY 18, 2013) The Preservation Alliance of Minnesota (PAM) learned that Peavey Plaza, a Modernist urban park plaza in downtown Minneapolis, has been officially listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The plaza, designed by M. Paul Friedberg and opened in 1975, was documented to have national significance.

The National Register designation is a key milestone in PAM’s efforts to preserve the historic plaza. In June 2012, PAM and the Cultural Landscape Foundation (TCLF), a Washington, DC-based non-profit organization, filed a lawsuit against the City of Minneapolis in an attempt to halt the city’s planned demolition of Peavey Plaza. PAM and TCLF filed suit under the Minnesota Environmental Rights Act (MERA), which includes historic resources among the types of resources protected under the act..

According to the National Park Service, which administers the Register, “the National Register of Historic Places is the official list of the Nation’s historic places worthy of preservation.” The National Register was established by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966. Over 7,000 historic places in Minnesota are listed in the National Register.

In 2010, the City of Minneapolis received $2 million in state bond funds to upgrade Peavey Plaza. At the same time, $14 million was appropriated for an addition to Orchestra Hall, which shares a block of Nicollet Mall with the historic plaza. The City of Minneapolis engaged a team of landscape architects – made up of local firm Oslund and Associatesand M. Paul Friedberg, Peavey Plaza’s original designer – to renovate the plaza. Friedberg was cut loose from the team before a new concept design requiring the demolition of the existing plaza was presented to the Minneapolis City Council in October 2011.

The Preservation Alliance of Minnesota agrees with the City of Minneapolis that Peavey Plaza should be an accessible, welcoming, functional public place, and believes that these goals can be met while retaining the historic design. From the outset, PAM consistently advocated for a sensitive rehabilitation of the plaza, and was open to hearing the City’s concepts for renovation.

PAM’s lawsuit, filed in June 2012, followed the City’s appeal of a decision by its own Heritage Preservation Commission that would have stayed demolition while a local landmark designation study was conducted. A court hearing is scheduled for February 5. Trial is expected in early summer 2013.

PAM and TCLF hoped to reach an agreement with the City at a mandatory mediation meeting during the first week of December. The City did not budge from its proposed design, which would remove all character-defining features of the historic plaza.PAM remains open to discussing alternative plans, such as the Friedberg’s concept developed this May, with the City and hopes to reach a compromise that will rehabilitate the existing plaza.

Please visit our Online Newsroom for more information about the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota

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The Preservation Alliance of Minnesota is the only statewide, private, non-profit organization advocating for the preservation of Minnesota’s historic resources. PAM was established in 1981 by citizens concerned about the loss of irreplaceable segments of our state’s heritage, structures, neighborhoods, and community fabric. Its mission is to “Preserve, Protect, and Promote Minnesota’s historic places.”

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