Midway Peace Park

Midway Peace Park featured image

Nearly a decade in the making, the Midway Peace Park is where community advocacy and action meet. Before the Midway Peace Park opening, access to nearby green space had been out of reach for the surrounding community – most of whom are immigrants and refugees from Somalia and Ethiopia living in the low-income Skyline Tower half a block away. Young children were able to play in the high-rise’s small playground – consisting of a few slides, swings, and metal benches – but the space lacked amenities for older teens and adults like a basketball court, soccer field, or space to exercise. Parks and open spaces are known to improve physical and mental health, while fostering neighborly connection. Mindful of these benefits, high school students, neighbors, and advocates in the area partnered with the Trust for Public Land to bring this special park to Midway.

Students from the nearby Gordon Parks High School produced advocacy videos and wrote to local newspapers about the need to bring green space to the area. Skyline Tower residents wrote more than 400 postcards to persuade the mayor that the neighborhood was in dire need of green space and the underused lots nearby could serve as a space for residents to connect with nature. The Trust for Public Land worked with residents, neighbors, community advocates, and the City of St. Paul through a planning process to ensure that the end product would represent what communities wanted in the park.

The result? The vibrant Midway Peace Park, which now serves more than 3,500 residents living within a half mile. The park includes walking paths, a multi-level playground, full court basketball and open field for soccer, gathering areas with benches and tables, an outdoor amphitheater, and mosaics by a local artist. To help mitigate climate effects, a signature stormwater feature was added with support from the Capitol Region Watershed District. Community advocacy and action matter and can reimagine spaces — for better community health and equity for all.

Funding came from many individual, corporate, and foundation donors; as well as the City of St. Paul’s 8-80 Vitality Fund and Outdoor Recreation Legacy Program (ORLP) of the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund. ORLP grants are used to build and improve parks where they’re needed most. Other key community partners included: the Union Park District Council, HealthPartners, and the Lexington-Hamline Community Council.

Explore the construction process, helping to connect the community to the outdoors: