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U.S. Bank Places to Play is a collaboration between U.S. Bank and the Minnesota Vikings that provides grant funding to non-profit, neighborhood-based organizations and schools in low- to moderate-income communities in Minnesota to improve the quality, safety and accessibility of local play spaces. As part of U.S. Bank’s Community Possible platform, this grantmaking initiative focuses on creating or improving parks, playgrounds, indoor/outdoor athletic facilities and repairing existing trails over three years.
U.S. Bank recently launched a new community giving and engagement platform called “Community Possible” focused on three central themes: Work, Home and Play. We invest our time, resources and passion in economic development by supporting efforts to create stable jobs, better homes and vibrant communities.
As part of the focus on play, U.S. Bank is collaborating with the Minnesota Vikings on the U.S. Bank Places to Play program, a $1 million, three-year investment across the state of Minnesota. U.S. Bank Places to Play was introduced as part of the original U.S. Bank Stadium partnership announcement with the Minnesota Vikings in June 2015.
The following organizations have demonstrated strong plans to improve in-demand recreation spaces that are ready for execution. Their projects show a high level of community engagement and represent a diverse set of communities and play spaces across the state of Minnesota.
Beltrami Park Timber Frame Pavilion
As the only public space in the neighborhood, Beltrami Park is the primary gathering spot for residents and several community groups. Adding a timber frame pavilion will provide long-lasting outdoor shelter for neighbors, friends, families and organizations to gather.
Lincoln Park Play Area
Lincoln Park playground will be upgraded, expanded, and integrated with existing open space, picnic and restroom facilities. Construction of the play areas closer to the picnic and open spaces will create better options for family recreation.
Community Baseball Bleachers
The community is extremely supportive of Fairmont’s baseball and softball teams, which draw large crowds at each game. The current set of wooden baseball bleachers are 42 years old and unsafe for spectators. They will be replaced with low-maintenance aluminum bleachers.
Central Park Playground Improvement Project
Central Park is one of the most prominent landscape features in North Branch and the vision is that it will serve as a tremendous community asset, providing recreational and relaxation opportunities for all ages, especially the community's youth. The quality, safety and accessibility of Central Park Playground will be improved by replacing old, unsafe equipment.
Mini Fields of Joy Project
Mini Fields of Joy is the resurfacing of an underused tennis court into an inviting artificial turf space suitable for soccer, tennis and multi-sport use. This would be the first of this type of court in the Twin Cities, providing free play opportunities for up to 700 kids per week.
Frogtown Park and Farm Nature-based Play Area
The dream of Frogtown Park and Farm has been long held by the community, which for years has been among the most park-poor neighborhoods in St. Paul. A new nature-based play area will enhance a well-known sledding hill. More play areas, a log fort, picnic table, shade trees, and improved landscaping will provide children the option to select from multiple play activities.
Urban Stars Soccer Program
The Urban Stars Soccer program uses soccer to reduce school drop-out rates, gang participation and dysfunctional family relationships. Upgrading the soccer field with artificial turf will help increase current participants from 500 to 1000 players. This project provides a positive gathering place for families in an area once notorious for violence.