MDM: Parking Versus Plazas.

Sorry about the hiatus last week. I just didn’t feel like writing, but I’m back now.

This week’s Million Dollar Monday project is something I’ve been advocating for a long time.

It’s pretty obvious that there’s substantial parking in the downtown area, it’s really that the perception that there isn’t enough is high.

Real quick side bar. People park in front of Target and then walk all the way to Barnes and Noble because they got such a great spot in front of Target. They then tell me that there’s no parking downtown when it’s not within a block of where they want to be.

Back to the point at hand…

There’s a perfect spot for a public space in downtown Mankato and I so desperately want to see it become one.

Right between the government center, the Graif building and the Brett’s building is this parking lot.

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This is an effective parking lot and does service quite a few cars in a day. I went down there on a Friday afternoon and saw plenty of cars using it. I also saw the adjacent parking ramp pretty full, which means they’re probably getting good use.

However, I don’t think that there would be an economic collapse of any sort if we were to eliminate this parking lot (and I don’t even advocate for getting rid of all of it).

The nice part about this space is that it’s enclosed. If you’ve ever listened to Jeff Speck speak, he talks about public space as being an outdoor living room. You’re living room wouldn’t be very comfortable if it had no walls, would it? Well the same goes for Public Spaces. It’s the reason that downtowns are fun to be in and places like Madison Ave. make you want to shoot yourself (if you’re a pedestrian).

There are some other great reasons for putting it here:

  • Two of the best looking buildings in Mankato
  • Super close to Front St.
  • Right next to the Government building (in case of protest)
  • Close to nice restaurants
  • Close to employment
  • Across the street from Civic Center

There’s a bunch of other great reasons to add that to the public space list in Mankato (as far as urban space is concerned we’re up to about one)

My friend, web admin and co-founder Ben Lundsten mocked up this image as to what it could be.

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As you can see, it would be super cool a definitive anchor to the downtown area.

There you have it folks. A great addition to the downtown and a project that would show the commitment we have to make this place better.

I thought I remember a rendering done by maybe the city? I’ll post it if I find it.

About Matthias Leyrer

Matthias Leyrer is a resident of Mankato looking to restore a fraction of its old glory. He writes about the economic, aesthetic, practical and financial issues facing the city of Mankato going forward.