Hello to our Members and Friends: As the board president of Friends of the Parks & Trails, I am pleased to say that 2022 has been a positive step toward getting back to normal, even as we continue to experience the effects of the pandemic. Park use has continued to be a safe escape for many, and the value of these vital outdoor spaces is only increasing in our communities. How lucky we are to live in or near a city ranked second in the nation, by the Trust for Public Lands, for the quality of its parks.
With higher usage of St. Paul and Ramsey County parks, our organization continues to study and monitor the following:
- Increased opportunities on the Ramsey County land north of the correctional facility and The Ponds at Battle Creek golf course site.
- Potential development of the Boys Totem Town site, paired with strong advocacy by neighbors and others to preserve the oak savannah and multiple acres of open land.
- The city’s potential redevelopment of bike lanes along Summit Avenue as part of the Summit Avenue Regional Trail Master Plan. Views of this project are running strong, in both directions, with cycling advocates arguing that the proposed off-street lanes will promote safety and accessibility and slow climate change while Summit Avenue homeowners, among others, cite concerns about tree loss and damaging the historic nature of the avenue. Click here to review the city’s initial draft plan and submit your own comments, through November 30.
The City of St. Paul is preparing a new Parks and Recreation System Plan that will serve as a comprehensive guide to physical improvements and modifications to parks, athletic fields, recreation centers, trails and other park and rec facilities. Although the public comment period has closed, we are happy to pass along your ideas, comments and concerns. Please email Amy Gage, our new executive director, at firstname.lastname@example.org to share your comments or set up a time to chat.
The city is also revising the Como Regional Park Trail Plan, which was last updated in 1984, though many improvements have been made to the park since then. Click here to learn more and share your ideas.
With many opportunities for engagement, we look forward to working with you — our friends and members — and partnering with like-minded organizations in the City of Saint Paul and Ramsey County.
You’ve likely noticed the lack of website and communication updates this year. The board has taken time to reflect on our mission and strategic plan to ensure our organization’s relevance and shape our direction for the future. We are making positive strides, and the most exciting news is that we have hired Amy Gage as our new executive director.
A former journalist and higher education communications and marketing director, Amy most recently was director of neighborhood and community relations at the University of St. Thomas; since leaving that position in September, she has engaged with us in this part-time role and also is working as managing editor of Streets.mn. (Some of you may remember her as a “Women in Business” columnist for the Saint Paul Pioneer Press.) An avid walker and cyclist, and a parks and trails enthusiast, Amy has the skill set, passion and energy to carry this organization into the future.
Together, we can do just that! Thank you for your ongoing support and engagement. — Scott Ramsay, board president