We’ve been a non-profit organization for 33 years and are working hard as ever to fulfill our mission. We couldn’t do it without the financial support of generous folks like you. Memberships fund our work and strengthen our voice as we speak on behalf of parks, trails, and open space. Additionally, your contributions are tax-deductible to the fullest extent of the law.
As 2018 comes to a close, here are some highlights of our year in review:
Parks Chapter of the St. Paul Comprehensive Plan – Cities are required by law to update their Comprehensive Plans every ten years. We are working with the St. Paul Parks and Recreation Department and the St. Paul Planning and Economic Development Department on the language for the Parks Chapter of the Comprehensive Plan. In addition to providing input and feedback on the written document, we will also testify before the Planning Commission and the City Council when it is before them in 2019.
Pedro Park – The St. Paul Comprehensive Plan calls for additional green space in downtown St. Paul. We worked with neighbors and city leadership in the hopes of finding a way to make that happen by adding green space adjacent to Pedro Park, as the city had been promising to do. Unfortunately, we were unsuccessful in our attempt to persuade leaders to fulfill the goals of the Comprehensive Plan regarding Pedro Park. Rest assured, we will continue to be a strong voice for parks in the future.
Ford Site Masterplan – The City of St. Paul Planning and Economic Development Department did extensive work on the site plan over a ten-year period and in 2018, the Ford Motor Company chose Ryan Companies to develop it. As part of the planning work, one of our board members was appointed to serve on the Community Task Force. In addition, we submitted written comments and gave oral testimony to the Planning Commission and City Council. We spoke at a community meeting on behalf of parks and trails and their importance in all development and redevelopment planning. The Ford Site Masterplan is in an overlay district within The Great River Passage Masterplan and The Mississippi River Corridor Critical Area (MRCCA) and The Mississippi National River and Recreation Area (MNRRA), which is the National Park running through our city. Our comments on the Ford Site Masterplan reminded citizens and leadership alike that all these plans, parks, and trails are interconnected and we need to be mindful of their importance. We continue to be involved as Ryan Companies makes adjustments to the Masterplan.
Pig’s Eye Regional Park – As with the Ford Site, Pig’s Eye is also within the boundaries of the Great River Passage Masterplan, MRCCA and MNRRA. There are businesses within those boundaries, as well. In 2018, a business expansion was proposed for an area in Pig’s Eye and we were part of that conversation. We will continue to participate as the discussions continue in 2019.
Wakan Tipi Center at Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary – The Friends support The Lower Phalen Creek Project in their work to receive funding for this project. The concept envisions a visitor and interpretive center to honor and interpret the Dakota sacred site, Wakan Tipi. More than 100 miles of recreational trails converge at the Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary and the St. Paul Public School System takes all fifth graders there as part of their social studies curriculum.
Hidden Falls/Crosby Farm Regional Park Task Force – As a member of the Task Force, we are working with staff and other community members on the plan updates for these two parks.
Como Lake Public Advisory Group – Work is underway to manage Como Lake as a healthy shallow lake within our urban environment. We are participating in these conversations.
Annual Tree Sale and Tribute Tree Donation Programs – As a non-profit organization that relies on membership donations for the majority of our funding, we hold one fundraiser every year, our Annual Tree Sale. In addition to raising funds to support our work, we also see it as providing a community service. Folks can purchase trees, shrubs, vines, roses, and edible fruit plants for their own yards or make a cash donation to parks. We partner with over 20 parks and public works departments in the Twin Cities metropolitan area to encourage tree donations for their park systems. In 2018, we donated $6,000.00 to St. Paul, Ramsey County, and other park systems throughout the Twin Cities through our tree donation programs. Since these programs began more than thirty years ago, we have donated more than 7,500 trees to metro area parks.
Communications – We are on Facebook and send email communications to our members, alerting them to current topics and actions they can take to be involved and make a positive impact on park policies. Our website and our blog help our membership stay informed.
Kare 11 TV Interview – Our Executive Director was interviewed for a news segment that aired February 8. Meteorologist Jeff Edmonson was interested in learning more about our Annual Tree Sale and our tree donations to parks throughout the entire metropolitan area.
Summit Hill Living Magazine – Friends of the Parks and Trails was highlighted in the December issue as a non-profit organization that is working hard to fulfill its mission and be good stewards of our community resources.
Annual Membership Meeting – The annual meeting was held to provide updates to the membership and give them the opportunity to ask questions and interact with the Board of Directors. New directors were voted in by the membership.