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Annie Young: Seeking environmental justice

Photo courtesy of Annie Young
Annie Young (published in 2014 in North News)

Former Minneapolis Park Board Commissioner Annie Young died last Monday at the age of 75.

In a Facebook post, former Park Board Commissioner President, John Erwin said, “Annie’s passing is a loss for Minneapolis and those of us who called her our friend. I was fortunate to work/serve/campaign with Annie for 17 years and became friends with her during that time. Words/phrases that come to my mind when thinking of Annie include passionate, green/democrat, food coops, renewable energy, memorable, outspoken, smart, tenacious, environmentalist, senior advocate, one-of-a-kind, crab cakes, great laugh, and fun. I will always remember her. The world is less without Annie in it”

Ward 1 City Council Member Kevin Reich posted the following: “I was saddened to learn of the passing of former Park Board Commissioner Annie Young. She leaves an enviable legacy of engagement and activism, as a dedicated advocate for the sustainability of our parks and the empowerment of our communities. I feel especially grateful to have had the opportunity in recent years to work with her on the NRP Policy Board and get to know her better. Her fierce determination, her big heart and her passion for public service will be missed.”

Annie Young, served on the Minneapolis Park Board for nearly 30 years. She was first elected to the Park Board in 1989. She continued winning re-election each term until she decided not to run again in 2017.

Last year, Minneapolis City Council Honored Young for her dedication and service by declaring May 20, 2017, Annie Young Day in the City of Minneapolis. In a resolution of the mayor and city council, Young was recognized for being elected to the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board for 7 terms, or 28 years, making her one of the longest serving Commissioners in the City’s history.

The mayor and city lauded Young as a champion of “green” thinking, renewable energy options, energy conservation, green building technologies, greening the city by nearly tripling street tree planting and sustainable land management practices.

Young fought to protect parks, lakes and trees as the base of a sustainable eco-city for future generations. She supported the construction of the East Phillips Recreation Center and the remodeling of the Phillips Community Center to serve neighborhoods with greatest need. She served as president of the Phillips Community Energy Cooperative, and successfully led the effort to stop the building of a garbage transfer station in the neighborhood at 28th and Hiawatha.

Young helped create the Green Institute at the site of the proposed transfer station, that resulted in one of the first sustainably designed industrial buildings of its kind, built with reused and recycled materials, with geothermal heating and cooling and what was then the largest solar array in the Midwest.

Young previously served as the first the Executive Director of Project Self-Sufficiency under former Mayor Don Fraser. She was a member of the Minneapolis Committee on Urban Environment for 14 tears, and she served as co-chair of the working group that developed the 20-year Neighborhood Revitalization Program (NRP). Young served two terms on the Minneapolis Planning Commission, and worked for the Harrison Neighborhood Association as is first Executive Director.

Young was Environmental Coordinator at the Women’s Cancer Resource Center, and was a founding Board member of the Environmental Justice Advocates of Minnesota.
She is survived by her son, Shawn Young, his wife, Jessica, and three grandchildren.

January 30, 2018
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