More "Open Streets" events in Minneapolis in 2013 thanks to new grant

Streets will become centers of activity at four “Open Streets” events in Minneapolis in 2013, thanks to a grant from the Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA) and the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association (BCBSA). The $50,000 grant to host the events was formally accepted Dec. 7 by the Minneapolis City Council and Mayor R.T. Rybak.

Next year’s events are expected to draw at least 30,000 residents outside to have fun, get exercise, and connect with others in their communities. Open Streets events close a neighborhood commercial street to vehicles for four to six hours. During that time, the street is opened to pedestrians, bicyclists, and other activities like Zumba, Yoga, Nice Ride ‘slow bike races’ and more. Minneapolis has held three Open Streets events over the last two summers, and this funding will mean each quadrant of town will have its own event in 2013. For the first time, each of these events will be co-sponsored by the City.

Minneapolis is one of ten cities nationwide to receive funding through the “Play Streets” program, which aims to combat childhood obesity and improve the community’s health and wellness. In addition to funding, the grant award includes technical assistance and marketing support from PHA, BCBSA and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota. The winning cities were chosen based on their ongoing commitment to increasing physical activity among kids, health education and programming, sustainability of the program, and community development.

Minneapolis has held three successful Open Streets events so far, including events on Lyndale Avenue South in the summers 2011 and 2012 and an event on Lowry Avenue North in the fall of 2012. These Open Streets events have been organized by the Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition, with funding from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota.

Published Dec 7, 2012