Minneapolis Park Board to name HQ after interim leader

December 6, 2018

The name of the Minneapolis Park Board headquarters could change to honor its interim superintendent.

Park Board President Brad Bourn announced his plans before a packed City Hall Wednesday night to rename the boards building the Mary Merrill Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board Headquarters.

She came out of retirement to do something special and helped the board in a difficult year of transition, Bourn said.

The Park Board was expected to approve the move after the public hearing about the city budget.

Merrill was the first woman and person of color to be named the superintendent of the Park Board. She started her career at Powderhorn Park.

Im grateful I started at Powderhorn and had a boss that didnt say no, Merrill said. That helped me grow and understand the possibilities are endless.

Merrill was named interim superintendent early this year after former superintendent Jayne Miller resigned and moved to Pennsylvania. Merrills contract ends Dec. 31.

The board nominated Al Bangoura, a longtime former employee, as the new superintendent.

Merrill previously worked with Bangoura. Long after she left Powderhorn Park, Merrill said he worked there and transformed the recreation center to be more inviting. He also was behind having art throughout the building.

I think hes respected, she said. And I think a lot of people are excited and anxious for him to start.

Regarding the name of the headquarters building, Merrill said she was humbled and honored. During her time as a superintendent, she worked to move the boards administration building out of downtown Minneapolis.

Its very nice of the board to think of me that way, Merrill said. The city doesnt have a lot of places named after the people of color. Im mostly honored and grateful.

Karen Zamora 612-673-4647 Twitter: @KarenAnelZamora

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