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Settlement Agreement Reached on Peavey Plaza


Media Contact: Nord Wennerstrom | T: 202.255.7076 | E: nord@tclf.org


Modernist Plaza listed to the National Register of Historic Places Avoids Demolition – Peavey Supporters and the City Will Collaborate on the Site’s Rehabilitation

Minneapolis, MN (October 4, 2013) – The Cultural Landscape Foundation (TCLF) and the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota (PAM) announced today that a settlement agreement with the City of Minneapolis has been approved by the City Council, ending a lawsuit brought by PAM and TCLF on June 29, 2012, to prevent the demolition of Peavey Plaza.  According to the agreement, PAM, TCLF and the City agree to work together on a new plan that maintains Peavey’s historic character while rehabilitating it to address access, maintenance, and programming issues.  The City Council’s Zoning and Planning Committee approved the agreement on Tuesday, October 1, 2013, and it now awaits Mayor R. T. Rybak’s signature.

Plans for rehabilitating Peavey Plaza will build on a series of conversations between TCLF, PAM and the City. As noted in the agreement: “[T]he parties have met and negotiated a new design concept for the Plaza and have reached agreement as to a framework design, potential improvements, and a common rehabilitation goal.”  While “specific details beyond the general design concept have yet to be established … the parties have conducted substantial work with each other on a rehabilitation of the Plaza in good faith with a focus on preservation of the historic elements of the Plaza, while permitting the Plaza to be changed and/or modified in order to achieve some of the objectives of the City.”

Charles A. Birnbaum, TCLF founder and President and Doug Gasek, Executive Director of PAM, said: “Today’s settlement is an important step toward the rehabilitation of Peavey Plaza and its reemergence as a vital public space, and we look forward to working with City officials, the City Council and other committed stakeholders in achieving that goal.”

Peavey Plaza was designed in 1975 by landscape architect M. Paul Friedberg and listed to the National Register of Historic Places in January 2013. Over the past four decades, Peavey Plaza has been a welcoming respite in downtown Minneapolis and has hosted thousands of public and private events.  The plaza is the progenitor of the “park plaza” style of design that combines the hardscape of European plazas and American green space, and is considered to be one of the finest surviving examples of Friedberg’s work from the period.  Peavey is among an elite group of works on the National Register – of the more than 88,000 sites on the Register, less than 2,500 have significance in landscape architecture. The plaza received a Centennial Medallion from the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) in 1999, and Friedberg, one of the nation’s leading landscape architects, received the ASLA Design Medal in 2004, the organization’s highest award. 

Peavey Plaza was featured in TCLF’s Landslide 2008: Marvels of Modernism and PAM’s 2008 list of Minnesota’s 10 Most Endangered Historic Places.  Peavey Plaza is also the cover image for Shaping the American Landscape: New Profiles from the Pioneers of American Landscape Design Project, which chronicles more than 250 years of American landscape design, and the January 2013 edition of the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Forum Journal.

About the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota
The Preservation Alliance of Minnesota (PAM) is a statewide, private, nonprofit organization advocating for the preservation of Minnesota’s historic resources. PAM was incorporated as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit in 1981 by Minnesota citizens concerned about the future of the state’s architectural and cultural landmarks, and has grown into a network representing thousands of voices across the state. Our actions inspire and engage communities to reuse existing assets and promote unique places. Beyond our membership, we collaborate and partner with other organizations, community groups, and agencies from the national to the local level.

About The Cultural Landscape Foundation (TCLF)

TCLF provides people with the ability to see, understand, and value landscape architecture and its practitioners, in the way many people have learned to do with buildings and their designers. Through its Web site, lectures, outreach, and publishing, TCLF broadens the support and understanding for cultural landscapes nationwide to help safeguard our priceless landscape heritage for future generations.