A donor “thank you” breakfast and groundbreaking ceremony was held on the morning of May 17. Saint Paul Mayor Melvin Carter, Marge Hols (Saint Paul Garden Club), Amy Mino (Rice Park Association), and Garth Morrissette (President of the Saint Paul Parks Conservancy), donned hard hats and grabbed shovels to turn the first dirt and launch the $2 million construction project.
Late in 2015, the Saint Paul Parks Conservancy and its partners the Saint Paul Garden Club, Rice Park Association and the City of Saint Paul Parks and Recreation Department launched a fundraising campaign for the revitalization of Rice Park. The fundraising goal of $1.35 million seemed a bit daunting at the time and now that the goal has been met, the construction has begun!
The celebration wasn’t only about the construction elements. A critical component of the fundraising was the establishment of a $250,000 upkeep and maintenance fund to ensure that Rice Park doesn’t fall into disarray in the future. This fund, invested by The Saint Paul Foundation and managed by the Parks Conservancy, will be used to supplement the routine maintenance by the City of Saint Paul. Annual the partners will meet to evaluate what’s needed (gardens, physical amenities, tree plantings, etc.) and how best to distribute the returns on the investment.
As a treasured community landmark and public event space, Rice Park serves over a million people each year. Rice Park is a beloved public green space at the heart of downtown Saint Paul. Since 1849 it has served as a nexus linking Saint Paul’s most impressive historic buildings and cultural gathering places, providing a visual and physical respite from the busy street life surrounding it. It is a well-used urban park that serves a broad, diverse audience and is an important component of numerous public events, including the Winter Carnival, Flint Hills Family Festival, the Ordway Summer Dance Festival and many more.
Over 200 donors contributed to the campaign’s success. The City of Saint Paul is also contributing $1 million in public funding to complete the revitalization effort.
Dowell Management fund development services
The Saint Paul Parks Conservancy was founded in 2008 to help Saint Paul Parks and Recreation’s goals of promoting active lifestyles, vibrant places and a vital environment. The Conservancy secures private financial support for project throughout the Saint Paul Community. For the past four years, the Saint Paul Parks Conservancy has contracted with Dowell Management for association management services. The Conservancy enlisted fund development and campaign management services from Dowell Management for the Rice Park Revitalization Project.