Who We Are
The Friends of Loring Park is an all-volunteer 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to preserving, improving, and supporting historic Loring Park in downtown Minneapolis. Established in 1997 “Friends” have worked to foster and build a strong and vibrant Loring Park community.
Brief History of the “Friends”
Beginning as the garden sub-committee of Citizens for a Loring Park Community (CLPC), The Friends became its own non-profit in 1997. Utilizing Neighborhood Revitalization Program (NRP) funds specified for the restoration of Loring Park, the Friends became the community organization dedicated to the implementation of the Loring Park 20-year improvement plan created by Balmori Associates, a New York based landscape design firm. Seeking additional funding from the city, neighborhood organizations, and individual donations the Friends continue their mission to advocate and collaborate with the Park Board, financially support improvement projects and facilitate volunteer projects all for the betterment of Loring Park. The original group of neighbors/ board members included: Ione Siegel, Lee Frelich, Marcia Stout, Dottie Speidel, Diane Woelm, and Karl Reichert.
The Friends of Loring Park, in collaboration with the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board works to provide the public a beautiful socially and environmentally sound Loring Park.
What we do
Current Projects & Initiatives
Berger Fountain restoration with new expanded plaza, design and fundraising
New Garden: Circle Garden (2019 installation)
Tennis court rehab fundraising
Park and community information kiosk (2019 installation)
Further development of The Loring Park Guest Artist Program
Ongoing Projects & Programming
Regular community gardening opportunities to maintain park gardens
Host spring garden season Kick-Off celebration
Support ongoing garden projects and plant purchases through Garden of the Seasons commemorative bricks sales
Host monthly community sing-a-longs
Support a sustainable urban forest through EAB and DED inoculations
Guest artist programming
Park programming co-sponsorships
Our Accomplishments - 20+ years advocating for a healthy and vibrant Loring Park
Design and install The Garden of the Seasons (1997)
Multiple smaller volunteer designed and maintained gardens throughout the park
Project 515 Pathway to Equality commemorative brick project in acknowledgement and support of marriage equality (2014)
Design engagement and funding for Community Arts Building expansion (2003)
Financial support for playground equipment, the Woman’s Club Fishing Pier, outdoor chess tables
1000 sf Community Arts Building rain garden (2012)
Commissioned stain glass window for Community Arts Building -Designer: Reynaldo Diaz. Glass Artist: Connie Becker (2005)
Fundraising and support for the restoration and relocation of the Performance Place building (1998)
The Loring Park Guest Artist Program
Park improvement projects:
Woman's Club Fishing Pier
Outdoor chess tables
Park programming co-sponsorships:
Summer movies series
Morning Meditation Group
Garden tending events
Pre-Parade Aquatennial Party
Acoustic Music Festival
The Picnic Operetta performance
Continued financial support for park programming in partnership with the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board
MEET THE BOARD
David Hile, President
I joined the Friends’ Board in about 2009 and have been Board President since 2011. I retired from the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office in 1998 where I ran the Hennepin County Adult Detention Center (Jail). My wife Mary and I joined the Loring Park neighborhood in 2003 when we moved into Summit House on Groveland Avenue. We moved from a single-family home in Plymouth that had a yard and gardens. No longer having my own gardens, I jumped at the chance to join the Friends of Loring Park and get my hands dirty in the Garden of Seasons. As Board President I feel the daunting task of keeping Friends the vibrant and thriving organization that my predecessors (Ione Segal and Lee Frelich) had created. With my hard-working fellow Board members and the community, I feel we can continue the success of this vital organization.
Todd Miller, Vice President
I live on Oak Grove Street. I had just sold my home in Uptown and missed working in my yard, so in 2009, I joined the Friends of Loring Park as a volunteer gardener. I design, plant and maintain the Triangle Garden beside the horse shoe courts. I also oversee the commemorative brick program in the Garden of the Seasons, offer my photography on the fundraising notecards in the rec center, and I am VP of the board. I love being active in Loring Park as a way of 'giving back' to a community that is so culturally rich and socially important in the downtown area.
Richard Anderson, Treasurer
I first moved into the Loring Park neighborhood in 1969 living on Oak Grove St. The neighborhood was quite different then, so I have been excited to see the tremendous change over 50 years has brought. One thing that has not changed is the diversity of residents and that's what I like best about living here. l joined Friends a number of years ago and it is exciting to help make improvements to the Park.
Ede Holmen, Secretary
Shortly after moving into our neighborhood in 1992, I heard rumors about a neighborhood committee meeting to plan a gardening group with the goal of Loring Park restoration. Like me, many of the attendees had left the suburbs and their personal gardens. The progress from reading seed catalogs to breaking ground some years later created excitement and an increasing sense of pride. My association with Friends continues to be an important part of my life in the Loring community, sharing goals with like-minded folks of varying ages and interests.
Cattails got me interested in Loring when we moved to Loring Green East twelve years ago because they covered the whole lake. Engagement with park board staff, a successful push to change state law, and a lot of neighborhood support, especially from Friends of Loring Park, has led to getting to know the system, the people who live here, and even cattail biology. Now we have to look at the green cover of duckweed! I love being on the Friends board, working on the Berger Fountain committee, on the Loring Greenway board, and watching our whole downtown community become more vibrant and attractive every day.
Lee Frelich (founding member)
Lee E. Frelich is Director of the Center for Forest Ecology at the University of Minnesota, and one of the neighborhood experts on trees, climate change, invasive species and urban ecology. Twenty-five years ago, I moved to Loring Park to live in a neighborhood where everything needed for daily life is available on foot, and to be close to Orchestra Hall. I am one of the founding members of Friends of Loring Park, established in 1997. My favorite memory was the great storm and flood of July 1, 1997, in the midst of Loring Park's major renovation. Rivers three feet deep poured down the Loring Greenway and Grant Street into the park that evening, temporarily turning the park into a lake, with high water mark at the deck of the bridge The water level was back to normal the following morning, and the park maintenance supervisor could not figure why 500-pound chunks of pavement were sitting in the middle of the lawn, or why the pond was filled with water. MPRB had just finished emptying the water from the pond the day before the storm, to install a clay liner to prevent water loss. A woman who frequently walked through the park in those days was delighted to tell me "you emptied the pond and god filled it back up for you". Loring Pond had to be emptied a second time, and MPRB did install the clay liner later that summer.
Marcia Stout (founding member)
I recall an outstanding moment when we had just put in the red benches in the Garden of the Seasons. We were all working, planting, and enjoying each other and the sound of nature. I looked up and all the benches were occupied. I cried—one mission accomplished. Ede and I in our Hip boots, planting on the edges of the pond, were laughing and trying not to fall in! All the great leadership on our board and their creativity makes for a rewarding experience and lots of fun!
I joined the board in 2014, a couple years after I was asked to lead the Morning Meditation group, a one-month experiment which has become an ongoing program entering its 9th year. How could you not love the park from that early morning ringside seat. From meditation and then gardening, the board, and working to develop the Loring Park Guest Artist program, one thing leads to the next. The park, the board, Loring has become a valued community of friends and neighbors.
I joined the Friends of Loring Park in January 2018. Since joining, I think the volunteer gardening days are my favorite. It’s a great time to hang out with folks, learn something new about gardening, and get your hands dirty. I am a proud graduate of Minneapolis College, and I recently started attending the University of Minnesota, to pursue a bachelor’s degree in psychology.