Rice Park Revitalization Complete! Up Next a Vision for Parks for Generations to Come!

Late in 2015, the Saint Paul Parks Conservancy (SPPC), along with its partners, the Saint Paul Garden Club and the Rice Park Association, launched a fundraising campaign with a goal of raising $1.35 million for the revitalization of Rice Park. At the time the goal seemed daunting. Now that construction on the park is complete, the coalition is glad they aimed high. On Tuesday, June 11th, a grand (re)opening of Saint Paul’s downtown signature park celebrated the success of the revitalization.

Buoyed by the success of the Rice Park Revitalization project, the board of the Saint Paul Parks Conservancy has articulated an ambitious plan to extend its margin of excellence to five new projects over the next five years. These projects were carefully selected from 14 finalists by the SPPC board and staff, working with the Department of Parks and Recreation to fulfill its vision of state-of-the-art park and recreation resources for city residents. The projects represent a mix of neighborhoods and physical improvements, with emphasis on projects which serve diverse and underserved neighborhoods.

With funding from the McKnight Foundation, the SPPC is currently in the midst of a comprehensive feasibility study for a proposed $5 million campaign. In addition, a complete redesign of the website along with marketing collateral is in progress. SPPC has set its sights on the next level of impact to fund the “margin of excellence” that makes a great park stand out – and makes Saint Paul more livable, more sustainable and more equitable.

One of Saint Paul’s greatest assets is its vast network of parks. The city is home to 26 recreation centers and nearly 5,000 acres of parkland in 180 parks. Saint Paul is ranked second in the nation by Park Score, a comprehensive annual ranking by the trust For Public Land with 96% of Saint Paul residents living within a 10-minute walk of a park. Between the parks and other public amenities supported by the Saint Paul Department of Parks and Recreation, 14 million people a year benefit from access to these activities.

Since its inception in 2008, SPPC has raised $2.5 million with a goal of being the catalyst for private funding to partner with public funds to fund key projects at the level of quality that is commensurate with Saint Paul’s vision for its residents. Without the work of SPPC, the projects would have either not been completed or they would not have been completed at a level that is expected by Saint Paul residents and visitors.

Dowell Management fund development services

For the past five years, the Saint Paul Parks Conservancy has contracted with Dowell Management for association management services. The SPPC enlisted fund development and campaign management services from Dowell Management for the Rice Park Revitalization and Sepak Takraw courts projects.