In our May newsletter, we presented the significance of Peavey Plaza, its decline, and the actions by The Cultural Landscape Foundation and the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota to save this unique site from demolition. Recently, the City of Minneapolis hired consultants to produce a Historic Structures Report and then develop designs to rehabilitate the Plaza, stating that this work would meet the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation. Unfortunately, the proposed 30% design plans have raised significant concerns as many of the character defining features of the site are being significantly altered or removed: raising the lower basin to be level with the surrounding walkway, eliminating original terraces that defined spaces within the site, removing healthy tress and replacing them with alternate species, adding competing water features, and changing the material palate.
Last week the Minnesota State Historic Preservation Office responded to the 30% submission from the City of Minneapolis and the design team lead by Coen + Partners. Sarah Beimers, Manager, Government Programs and Compliance at SHPO submitted a letter to the City of Minneapolis offering a critical review of the design, noting a number of areas that did not meet the Standards for Rehabilitation, many of the same issues that have been raised by the preservation community at the monthly Stakeholder meetings. The letter and other documentation can be found at the City of Minneapolis Website for the Peavey Plaza project: http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn. us/publicworks/PeaveyPlaza/index.htm
Again, we welcome everyone to visit this site to review the developed plans and to review the letter from MN SHPO that details their concerns for the proposed project. We remain hopeful and optimistic that the City of Minneapolis and the design team can develop creative solutions that meet their stated goals to “Rehabilitate Character Defining Features” as part of the design. We believe that a sensitive, inclusive, and vibrant rehabilitation solution of Peavey Plaza is still possible.