Mears Park is located 221 5th Street East in the heart of downtown Saint Paul’s Lowertown district. The park has a covered band shell (pergola) with electricity, seasonal flower gardens, and a beautiful stream running diagonally through the park. It is home to many concerts, events and festivals throughout the year.
Originally the home of the First Baptist congregation, who built their church on top of a hill in the middle of a city block. In 1849 the land was donated to the city by Robert Smith. The hill was leveled and the square was formally created in 1888. For most of the next century, the park was a traditional city square with a central fountain and sidewalks radiating about it. In the early 1970s, the park became known as the “Brickyard” after a renovation that covered much of the square in bricks.
The City’s Housing and Redevelopment Authority (HRA) became involved in 1973 when Mears Park was redesigned by William Sanders and renamed after Norman B. Mears, a Saint Paul businessman who spurred Lowertown redevelopment. Since being renovated in 1991, Mears Park has become one of the most loved and cared for places in all of Downtown. Mears Park is heavily programmed and well cared for by the Saint Paul Parks and Recreation Department and Friends of Mears Park.
Friends of Mears Park is an all-volunteer Historic Saint Paul sponsored nonprofit 501(c)3 organization. Started in 1994 with the purpose to care for and maintain Mears Park. Approximately 60 gardeners volunteer their time and money for planting, weeding, watering, and tending to 43 assigned garden plots. Friends of Mears Park coordinates and helps to pay for tools, equipment, holiday lights including the design, display, and maintenance. This is accomplished through generosity of corporate and individual donors.
City of St. Paul
Notes/Location Detail/Unique Events:
The most notable summer events are The Twin Cities Jazz Festival and The Funk & Blues Fest, along with Thursday night’s music Lowertown Sounds and the Food Truck Festival. Sponsored by Saint Paul Parks & Recreation are many other smaller events and performances that take place in Mears Park
- Land of 10,000 Stories December 2019
- Grow with Kare segment from June 2016
- This TPT video gives a lot of Lowertown history and the development of Mears Park
- Greater Lowertown Master Plan from December 2011
- Lowertown Landing 2021 & Minnesota Historical Society
Immediate Action Items:
- Gather contact info for buildings and storefronts
- Find out who’s in charge of holding events in plaza space
- Find out status of all the spaces