Minneapolis Park Board,
My name is Becka.
I was born and raised in Minneapolis.
Have you ever looked out at an empty ball field and thought 'oh, that's too bad'? What about a crowded pool and thought 'what a fun Saturday activity for the kids! looks like the whole neighborhood is there!'? Do you find yourself disconnected from your community and fear your children won't have the future you'd desire for them because so much time is lost commuting in the car to activities and school? Minneapolis used to have that 'big small down feel', do you remember that? Or have you always felt distant from that idea?
How do we fix what we've lost? How do we create best what we all seek?
I think I know a way, but before that, I want to tell you a story:
When I was a little kid, we moved many times. I was born in Minneapolis and I missed it terribly. My dad took us away for a few years due to jobs and when we returned I had become painfully shy from all the moves. I was the new kid (again) at my school. I was the second fiddle to my (always) over achieving older sister. I was the 'not quite as cute' kid as my little brother. I felt displaced and rather alone frankly. I loved a few things- baseball was one of them. So as we unpacked our house for the fifth time in not even three years my mother could easily identify that bewildered look on my face. She spoke with some neighbors and marched us down to Hiawatha Park in south Minneapolis. Before I knew it I had a brown "HIAC" uniform on, a gaggle of teammates and the dust of those ballfields on my Chuck Taylor all stars every day. I met almost all the kids in my neighborhood and the adjoining neighborhoods. They were my teammates and became my best friends. Being a bit of a wallflower at school, I gravitated to the last bell, where I could ditch whatever made me sad or scared about the world, grab my glove and bike over to Hiawatha to see my friends.
That may seem like a simple story of a bye gone era, but it is a true story and it is mine and I believe we can get that back- that place of community where kids can just PLAY- and that is why I am a candidate for Minneapolis Park Board on the Northside, District 2.
I know we have been through hard times as a city There is no denying that. I have gone round and round with friends, neighbors, colleagues and family as to they 'whys' and 'hows' of getting to this place of separation and discontent and stress. There is no denying we are there.
But, ultimately, it doesn't matter how or why. What matters is that we are here together, looking for solutions and listening to one another. As a park board rep, I will work for the whole city and with the city-that is the represented council - to make sure the balance between parks and urban density is sustainable- for our wetlands, our green space, our mighty oaks, our rose gardens, our fish and our swimmers all, and most importantly, what I believe our parks are best for- our children.
We cannot create community alone. We need each other for ideas big and small, for activities far and wide. We each have our role to play in restoring our community.
Let us finally create a city where ALL children can scatter on a beautiful Saturday or after a long day at school with just a 'I'll be at the park!" holler back to the house, and we can all know that child is safe to return when it's time and the park will welcome them like a second home until then.
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