After a two-year construction period since the demolition of the Metrodome in January 2014, the professional football team, the Minnesota Vikings, can soon return to Downtown Minneapolis in the summer of 2016. The Vikings’ new home, the $1.1 billion U.S. Bank Stadium, towers over the city’s skyline in the Downtown East Commons. As the stadium is near its completion, the ongoing construction deliberately shows commitment towards enhancing the exterior landscaping through the addition of green design elements on the east side of the venue.
Designed by landscape architects at Oslund and Associates, the plan is to give the stadium newly planted trees, shrubs and perennials. According to the Vikings’ public relations team, the planting of the first of nearly 3,000 perennials is currently underway. Other projects include:
- Boston Ivy near the parking lot in the southeast side of the stadium;
- Shrubs along 11th Avenue;
- Ten Swamp White Oak and Sienna Glen Maple on 6th Street;
- Crimson Spire Oak and Hackberry trees on 11th Avenue.
Public relations also promised to plant sixty Triumph Elm trees around the west plaza in the spring and summer of 2016. Altogether, the U.S. Bank Stadium is anticipated to have 153 trees, 902 shrubs, 2,946 perennials, 462 tons of rock mulch, and 135 cubic yards of hardwood mulch around the venue. If all goes as planned, Minnesotans can expect to see the completed project in the Downtown East Commons area in June of 2016.
In addition to the green space enhancement that surrounds the stadium’s vicinity, the Vikings are preparing to contribute towards further green landscaping initiatives within the Downtown East Commons. Thus far, the Vikings have donated $3 million toward the Downtown East Commons park project. Big Minnesota corporations’ such as Target Corporation, Land O’Lakes, Carlson and the Carlson Family Foundation, Xcel Energy, Thrivent Financial, and Veit USA have all contributed donations towards the project. Green Minneapolis, the conservancy group responsible for the fundraising for the project, announced it has raised $10.5 million towards the project as of January 2016.
Taking the lead in the park project, Vikings co-owner and president, Mark Wilf, joins the Downtown East Commons Fundraising Committee as co-chair to strengthen the Vikings’ commitment in the city’s new green project. Wilf believes that the Downtown East Commons will add more to the downtown community. He shares that the four-acre park will be “an integral part of the Vikings game day experience” as well as “a place the community will enjoy throughout the year.”
Designed by San Francisco-based architecture firm, Hargreaves Associates, the four-acre green space will be adjacent to the new U.S. Bank Stadium. While still in the planning stages, the rough sketch indicate the installation of a water feature, a pavilion, a play area, ice skating rink, and a café. The park is expected to serve as a retreat for the people of Minneapolis and workers in the downtown area, in addition to creating a space to host city events.
How will the green space initiatives in Downtown Minneapolis benefit and transform the city? What are some green space initiatives in your city? Share your thoughts and your city's stories in the comments area below.
Credits: Images by Tam Nguyen. Data linked to sources.