My name is Steve Barland.
I have lived in Minneapolis my whole life, and in one way or another, my life has been shaped by our beautiful parks.
I grew up playing football, baseball, and basketball in the Park Board system, and I met my wife Patty while coaching softball.
I also coached our three children as they grew up, and I still play softball with my sons and coach basketball with my daughter.
I have volunteered and coached in the Park system for 30 years, helping thousands of kids learn to enjoy playing baseball, softball, basketball, football, and soccer.
I was the Basketball Coordinator and a Pearl Improvement Recreation Council (PIRC) board member at Pearl Park for 10 years.
I coordinated the expansion of MPRB Basketball to include K-12 participants.
I received the Volunteer of the Year award at Pearl Park.
I believe that the green spaces, bike paths, and recreation areas of Minneapolis are treasures that deserve to be better represented on the Park Board.
I also believe that neighborhood parks and recreation centers are central to our community, and programs like youth sports need to be maintained.
I have decades of experience and a lifelong love for the outdoors that would help me make the Minneapolis Park System the best in the country.
I am committed to maintaining our assets – our recreation centers, bike paths, golf courses, open space, our tree canopy, and parkways. While increasing the size of the system to provide more access is laudable, expansion should not be pursued at the expense of letting our current gems deteriorate. I will work to ensure expansion decisions are informed, strategic, and equitable.
Declining programming for our kids, families, and adults, including seniors, is a serious issue. As a dad who spent many hours with his kids at several parks, I know how important programming is for every generation. We need to work hand in hand with our partners at the school district and others to ensure kids–all kids–have a safe, fun place to spend time when they’re not in school.
Programming for our seniors – those that built our system – is also important. We can reduce the isolation seniors sometimes feel by providing a quality place to meet for social interaction, a bridge game, or simply a cup of coffee. Ensuring equitable, quality access will be a top priority.
As a coach for over 40 years, I have learned that the best way to get a job done is to stay focused and build consensus. I will actively listen to the concerns and ideas of Minneapolis residents, and then work tirelessly to build a consensus among my fellow board members to ensure clear, logical Board priorities that reflect the needs of the community as expressed by the community.
I will push to ensure all residents have a clear understanding of the Park Board’s budget, working to ensure our annual budgets reflect key priorities of prudent asset maintenance and quality programming across the entire system.
Critical to the economic health of Minneapolis and the greater Minneapolis Saint Paul region, is maintaining a high quality of life; our park system is key to ensuring Minneapolis is an attractive place to live, work and own a business.
As an At-Large Commissioner, I will regularly visit parks across the system to continually seek a deep understanding of who is being served and what services could enhance their experience. More importantly, I will work to ascertain why some residents are not being served, be it due to lack of access or lack of appropriate or relevant programming.