Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board
‘Focus on working families’
From the Minneapolis Labor Review, October 27, 2017
By Steve Share, editor, Minneapolis Labor Review
MINNEAPOLIS — “Public space — and our parks especially — are the last bastion of true civic space where everybody has access and people of different backgrounds can come together,” says Jono Cowgill.
Cowgill is running for the District 4 seat on the Minneapolis Park Board and is endorsed by the Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation, AFL-CIO and the DFL Party.
District 4 includes parts of downtown and several neighborhoods including Elliot Park, Whittier, Wedge, Stevens Square, Kenwood, Bryn Mawr, Cedar-Isles-Dean, and East Calhoun.
The District 4 incumbent, Anita Tabb, is not running for re-election.
‘We need to focus on working families and the workers who are there every day in our parks.’
Cowgill grew up in the Minneapolis parks and schools. “I was in Rec Plus as a kid. I played park basketball,” he says.
He adds: “I grew up in a union household.” His mother, a MAPE member, has worked for the Minnesota Department of Education for 30 years.
Cowgill graduated from South High in 2006, went on to attend Pacific Lutheran University, and later earned a masters degree in urban planning from the U of M’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs.
Cowgill works as an urban planner for Community Design Group and would bring his professional experience to the park board.
He’d like to engage local communities in park budgeting, create park by park budgets, and empower park directors and staff to respond to community needs and desires.
And, he emphasizes, park board decisions should be guided by advancing racial equity.
For a decade or more, Cowgill notes, the park system’s workforce has seen “cuts in capacity and having to do more and more work with less and less time,” while management jobs have increased.
“We need to focus on working families and the workers who are there every day in our parks,” Cowgill says.
“We also need to ensure that jobs are being provided to union labor and working families — that is the strength of our city,” he adds.