Board of Commissioners Meetings

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While social distancing measures are in place due to COVID-19, the Three Rivers Park District Board of Commissioners is meeting remotely in order to best ensure the safety of Park District staff and the public. Although Board meetings aren't currently being held in person at the Three Rivers Park District Administrative Center, the Board of Commissioners is committed to keeping people informed about the Board's policy making process and providing opportunities for people to comment in advance about proposed Board actions.


Watch live and comment during meetings

Board meetings and Study Sessions are streamed live via Zoom. If you would like to watch the live video stream of the Study Session, please email your full name, email address and phone number to BoardComments@threeriversparks.org by 1:00 p.m. on the Wednesday before the meeting, and a link to the meeting will be sent to you. Please indicate in your email if you would like to address the Board during Item 4. Citizens Wishing to Address the Board (for items not on the agenda; please include topic) or specify the agenda item number you wish to address.


Submit comments

If you would like to submit written comments in advance of the Study Session that will be shared with the Board, please email them to BoardComments@threeriversparks.org by 1:00 p.m. on the Wednesday before the meeting or post them below in the comment box under the agenda item you wish to address. The agenda for the upcoming Study Session is now available for review within the Meeting Archive or by clicking the link below.

Click here for an archive of past Board agendas, minutes and audio recordings of meetings.

While social distancing measures are in place due to COVID-19, the Three Rivers Park District Board of Commissioners is meeting remotely in order to best ensure the safety of Park District staff and the public. Although Board meetings aren't currently being held in person at the Three Rivers Park District Administrative Center, the Board of Commissioners is committed to keeping people informed about the Board's policy making process and providing opportunities for people to comment in advance about proposed Board actions.


Watch live and comment during meetings

Board meetings and Study Sessions are streamed live via Zoom. If you would like to watch the live video stream of the Study Session, please email your full name, email address and phone number to BoardComments@threeriversparks.org by 1:00 p.m. on the Wednesday before the meeting, and a link to the meeting will be sent to you. Please indicate in your email if you would like to address the Board during Item 4. Citizens Wishing to Address the Board (for items not on the agenda; please include topic) or specify the agenda item number you wish to address.


Submit comments

If you would like to submit written comments in advance of the Study Session that will be shared with the Board, please email them to BoardComments@threeriversparks.org by 1:00 p.m. on the Wednesday before the meeting or post them below in the comment box under the agenda item you wish to address. The agenda for the upcoming Study Session is now available for review within the Meeting Archive or by clicking the link below.

Click here for an archive of past Board agendas, minutes and audio recordings of meetings.

  • May 6, 2021 Board Study Session Agenda

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    CLOSED: This discussion has concluded.

    To view the agenda for the May 6, 2021, Board Study Session, click here.

  • Item 3. Superintendent’s Report

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    CLOSED: This discussion has concluded.

    Purpose of Study Session:

    VERBAL UPDATE.


    Background Information:

    The Superintendent (or designee) will provide a verbal update to Commissioners on current Park District matters.

  • Item 4. Citizens Wishing to Address the Board

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    CLOSED: This discussion has concluded.

    Purpose of Study Session:

    NO ACTION REQUIRED.


    Background Information:

    Study Sessions are streamed live via Zoom. If you would like to watch the live video stream of the Study Session, please email your full name, email address and phone number to BoardComments@threeriversparks.org by 1:00 p.m. on the Wednesday before the meeting, and a link to the meeting will be sent to you. Please indicate in your email if you would like to address the Board during the Study Session and if so, please include the topic or specify the agenda item number you wish to address.

    If you would like to submit written comments in advance of the Study Session that will be shared with the Board, please email them to BoardComments@threeriversparks.org or post them in the box below that corresponds to the agenda item you'd like to comment on by 1:00 p.m. on the Wednesday before the meeting.

  • Item 5A. Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Update

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    CLOSED: This discussion has concluded.

    Purpose of Study Session:

    UPDATE ON DIVERSITY, EQUITY AND INCLUSION INITIATIVES.


    Background Information:

    At the special meeting on July 9, 2020, the Board of Commissioners approved the 2040 System Plan to guide the priorities and focus of the Park District for the next twenty years. The vision of this plan is to connect everyone to nature every day. To achieve that vision, three goals were identified with the first goal, You Belong Here, being the cornerstone of the plan. This goal focuses on ensuring our parks, amenities and programs are welcoming and convenient to all people. This goal and the vision of the Plan can only be achieved by taking intentional actions to better serve our entire community, including our Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) community members.

    At that same meeting, the Board directed the Superintendent and staff to proceed with the recommended strategies and actions related to diversity, equity and inclusion within the Park District. As part of that direction, the Board requested that staff provide regular updates on the progress and impacts related to these strategies and actions.

    Following is an overview of some of the actions, initiatives and programs that have occurred since the previous update at the Board meeting on September 17, 2020.

    Program Partnerships

    • Staff have developed new partnerships to help strengthen relationships and connections with nature and our parks.
      1. CLUES (Communidades Latinas Unidas En Servicio), the largest Latino-led nonprofit organization in Minnesota are working on a variety of initiatives including Recreation Pass Plus signups, Group Camp training and planning a few different outings at Elm Creek this summer.
      2. SEWA-AIFW enhances overall wellness for the South Asian community. After many attempts that were canceled due to the pandemic, we were able to work together to host an event for seniors at Fish Lake in April. Through this partnership, we also distributed 71 of the winter gear and information kits.
      3. Many new partners are signed on to participate in a Group Camping Leader Training this spring and intend to bring groups out camping at Three Rivers this summer. Partners participating in the training include CLUEs and Wicoie Nandagikendan Urban.
    • Mississippi Gateway staff are building on the successful Explorer Camp and Club programs, creating new partnerships and expanding offerings with existing partners.
      • After school Explorer Programs at Brooklyn Center Elementary and Zanewood Elementary are extremely popular, so much so that staff have difficulty keeping up with the interest and demand.
      • Staff have reconnected with Dar Al-Farooq Community Center in Bloomington and will be providing a few days of Explorer Camp this summer and will also offer two overnight camps at the Baker OLC for teens and young adults this summer.
    • Staff are continuing to promote and expand participation in the Recreation Pass Plus program through hands-on sign ups, hosted events and networking.
      1. A new partnership with Second Harvest Heartland is providing numerous opportunities to have a presence at summer meal and food distribution locations. This partnership is also providing opportunities to raise awareness of the SNAP program among Recreation Pass Plus participants.
      2. To help introduce Rec Pass Plus participants to new activities and parks, staff are coordinating monthly sampler events where attendees can try a new activity including free lessons and rental equipment, have a guided exploration of the host park and learn how to use the program’s benefits to enjoy the activity on their own.
    • We are working with BIPOC community members to develop culturally relevant programs in our parks in cost effective ways.
      1. After enjoying Zumba at the Hispanic Heritage Celebration at Fish Lake in October, participants asked for additional programs to be added. Staff offered more sessions in the fall and are working on adding dates starting this spring.
      2. The Zen Bin will be leading weekly yoga classes in the parks this summer.
      3. Outdoor Rec and Community Engagement staff are working with University of Minnesota Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP-Ed) to provide 3 sessions of fishing instruction in May to cohort for fathers from Hennepin County. The intention is to teach the entire process of fishing, from setting up their rods to fileting and cooking the fish.
      4. Nicole Fernandez, a Community & Cultural Liaison, developed a healing walk program at French Regional Park. Four guided walks are scheduled for this spring, two have already occurred with 10 – 20 participants and two more will be occurring in May. Nicole will also be developing routes at other park locations and will be exploring opportunities to make these available as self-guided activities.

    Staff Diversification

    • Human Resources and Community Engagement staff have been connecting with community groups that provide work opportunities and career connections to BIPOC community members and those facing financial barriers.
      1. Prosperity Now works with foreign-born Minnesotans who hold college degrees but are under-employed helping to build skills to successfully navigate and work for a U.S. employer and also helps employers remove barriers and create empowering cultures for hiring immigrant professionals.
      2. Human Resources staff have established a partnership with Twin Cities R!se (TCR) to provide internship opportunities for individuals who have gone through TCR’s career skills training and have been matched with Three Rivers due to an interest in the industry or a specific career path. TCR’s vision is to create a community of empowered individuals, especially men of color, who achieve long-term job success to support their families.
    • After a modified offering last summer due to the pandemic, the Pathways Internship program will be fully implemented this year. 80 applications were received and following group interviews, the internships will start in early June. Recruitment for the internship program focused on BIPOC youth and youth facing other barriers to employment.
    • Many departments and ERGs have placed a focus on DEI-related training, education and conversations. Topics have included white fragility, gender identity, Black history, and bias/micro aggressions.

    Relationship to the System Plan

    This update supports the following goals(s) of the System Plan:

    • Goal 1: You Belong Here
    • Goal 3: Lead by Example
  • Item 5B. Sponsorship Structure and Opportunities

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    CLOSED: This discussion has concluded.

    Purpose of Study Session:

    REVIEW AND DISCUSS THE SPONSORSHIP STRUCTURE AND OPPORTUNITIES.


    The following information was prepared by Mandy Whiteside, Director of Marketing and Community Engagement.

    Background Information:

    There are a variety of outside funding sources that the Park District utilizes. District-wide structure and processes have long been in place for funding sources including grants, donations and fees. Staff desired to create this same level of structure and process for sponsorship, which is relatively new to Three Rivers and provides numerous opportunities as a non-tax revenue source.

    In 2014, the Park District hired a Director of Advancement to build a sponsorship program. The primary focus for this position was to develop a structure and secure sponsorships related to our signature events and to explore opportunities for other initiatives.

    Together with staff, the Director of Advancement laid a foundation for sponsorship at Three Rivers, and now we are prepared to build off of that foundation. With the variety of programs, amenities and facilities available across the Park District, there are numerous opportunities to expand our sponsorship approach. Conversations around projects like the development of Mississippi Gateway Regional Park have introduced opportunities to explore potential sponsorships for on-going initiatives, services and capital.

    To ensure a consistent approach, staff have created a structure to guide the exploration and securing of sponsorships beyond events. This structure not only defines details related to each category, but follows the guidance laid out in the financial management plan and administrative guidelines.

    The PowerPoint presentation (Reference 5B-1) lays out the different categories of sponsorship that exist at Three Rivers.

    • Events – Gatherings with specific dates and times
    • Initiatives and Services – Programmatic elements not tied to a specific date or time
    • Capital – Physical facilities and amenities.


    Within each category, details are provided related to the sponsor motivations and expectations, implementation, key contacts and board engagement.

    Staff recognizes that each sponsorship opportunity will be unique, but this structure will provide necessary governance to keep consistency between opportunities and allow staff across the Park District to have clear direction and boundaries related to sponsorship.


    Current Event Sponsorship Status:

    Over the past seven years, we have developed our event sponsorship program and have secured sponsorships for signature races and key program center events. Staff has a process in place for soliciting, securing and featuring sponsors to enhance these events.

    The 2021 budget includes $50,000 in sponsorship revenue through the signature event program. While the pandemic has had a negative impact on events and sponsorship revenue in 2020 and 2021, staff continue to work with existing sponsors to maintain relationships and is also developing new relationships. We anticipate event sponsorship revenue to return to the budgeted level in 2022.


    Relationship to the System Plan

    The Request for Action supports the following goals(s) of the System Plan:

    • Goal 2: Parks Matter
    • Goal 3: Lead by Example
  • Item 5C. 2022-2026 Draft Capital Improvement Program (CIP)

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    CLOSED: This discussion has concluded.

    Purpose of Study Session:

    REVIEW OF THE DRAFT 2022-2026 CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM.


    Background Information:

    Each year staff develops a 5-year Capital Improvement Program (CIP) that serves as the basis for identifying the projects to be included in the Board-approved Asset Management Program for the next year, and to identify the tentative projects for years 2-5 of the CIP. Project selection and timing is influenced by the Board’s set of principles and priorities as outlined in the CIP document, as well as available funding, partner timing and workload considerations.

    Typically, the years 2-5 of the last CIP role over into years 1-4 of the new CIP, with changes focused primarily on adding new partnership opportunities that have come up, and some revisions of costs to reflect recent bid prices.

    Outside funding is from the Federal government (primarily for regional trail projects), State bonding, the Metropolitan Council match of $2 to every $3 in state bonding (the Council does not match line item bonding grants such as Mississippi Gateway), and local funding through partnerships with Hennepin County and cities.

    Three Rivers funding is primarily through bonding. The CIP goal is to average $8.5 million in bonding per year to provide debt service stability.

    The Draft 2022-2026 Capital Improvement Program is enclosed for Board review and discussion (Reference 5C-1).


    Overview of the 2022-2026 CIP:

    • 105 projects with an estimated cost of $99.86 million
      1. $52 million is proposed for Stewardship - Maintaining what we have.
      2. $41 million is proposed for equity investments within our most diverse communities.
      3. About $5 million is proposed for partnership projects outside of the First-Tier Communities. These are projects which Three Rivers can combine with a city or county project to realize cost savings, or which reflects a previous commitment made by the Board.
      4. Administrative Overhead remains stable at $1.7 million for the five years.
    • Outside Funding Considerations:
      1. The Legislature is still considering the 2022/23 Legacy Bill, which is a major source of funding in the CIP. The Draft CIP reflects the expected amount of Legacy funding as found in the Governor’s recommendation.
      2. The Draft CIP does not assume any State Bond in the 2021 Legislative session.
      3. Because the funding has not yet been confirmed, the Draft CIP does not currently list the potential project assignments for outside funding. That information will be provided in the next draft of the CIP.
    • Internal Funding Considerations:
      1. The Draft CIP’s average annual bond is $8.72 million, about 2.6 percent above the target of $8.5 million.
      2. It is increasingly difficult to maintain an $8.5 million average bond, as that target has been in place since the formal inception of the CIP program in 2015 while the Construction Cost Index has continued to rise at an average rate of 3.1 percent. Purchasing power has effectively been decreasing since 2015 and will continue to decrease. This is a complex issue that needs to be discussed in context of the overall Park District budget, and as such, is proposed for discussion at the Board’s August Study Session.


    Project highlights and changes

    • Mississippi Gateway is the largest project in the CIP, with the bulk of funding scheduled for 2022. Upon approval of the 2022/23 Legacy bill currently being consider in this legislative session, 98 percent of funding for the park portion of the project will have been fully secured. The remaining two percent is anticipated to be secured through Hennepin County Youth Sports Grants in 2022 and 2023.
    • The West River Road underpass that connects the two parts of Mississippi Gateway is slated for 2025, but could be moved forward if funding is secured prior to that year. Three Rivers has applied for a federal transportation grant through Representative Dean Phillips office.
    • The Eagle Lake trail and cart path reconstruction project was added for 2022 to take advantage of an opportunity to combine that work with the planned mill and overlay of the park’s parking lot. Partial funding for the project comes from the Eagle Lake golf course fund balance.
    • The ADA site work project totals $880,000 for 2022. The year before we do major pavement work at a park, we do a comprehensive ADA assessment of the entire park to identify existing ADA barriers and needed improvements related to parking lots, curbs, paths, and facility access points. Combining this work with planned pavement projects allows for cost savings and a methodological approach for upgrading ADA access within our parks. For 2022, work will be done at the Administrative Center, Eagle Lake, Gale Woods, and Richardson Nature Center.
    • The French Restroom replacement project originally scheduled for 24/25 has been revised to become an in-house project done by our Carpentry crew as part of the on-going ADA Bathrooms project. Our carpenters and our architect reviewed the existing buildings and agree that this approach is feasible and will provide equal facilities at considerable cost savings. Work will occur at a pace of two restroom buildings per year. This change allowed the Lake Rebecca Restroom replacement project to move up from 2026/27 to 2024/25. The Lake Rebecca restroom needs to be moved to a new location, so the carpentry approach would not work for that situation.
    • The Richardson Nature Center parking expansion project was added for 2022 to potentially coincide with the scheduled mill and overlay of that lot. Staff have indicated that Richardson has outgrown their current lot on a regular basis. Design did a study of the lot and came up with a solution that would increase paved parking from 69 to 109 stalls, and which would fix the on-going issue of regional trail users cutting across the parking lot. The total estimated cost is $185,000. However, this project is not funded in the CIP since we were above the target average bond.
    • The West Mississippi River Regional Trail – Willow Lane Gap project has been tied to future MnDOT work on Hwy 252 in that area in past CIPs. The MnDOT project continues to be delayed. Staff is proposing an interim solution using signage and existing streets be implemented in 2021 to provide safe passage and to establish the existence of this trail for inclusion in the future MnDOT project. Funds for the initial study of the Willow Lane Gap were included in a past Asset Management Program, and the remaining funds will be used to create the interim solution.
    • The West Mississippi River Regional Trail – Culvert/ravine stabilization partnership with Hennepin County is a new partnership opportunity project scheduled for 2023. The County intends to replace four large culverts on CR 12 in Dayton. Two of those culverts empty into land now owned by the Park District as part of its acquisition program for the future regional trail. The County has proposed to extend the culverts to provide safe trail passage for the future regional trail, and to do significant ravine stabilization work on our land to reduce erosion into the river. This is a long-term savings to Three Rivers for the trail portion, and an important natural resources project. Three River’s share of the project is estimated at $400,000, with funding of approximately $200,000 anticipated through the Clean Water Legacy program.
    • The Lake Independence Extension from the Luce Line to the Dakota Rail Regional Trail is another new project that reflects an emerging opportunity. Hennepin County and the Met Council Environmental Services (sewer) Division will be doing major work on Old Crystal Bay Road and North Shore Drive in 24/25. Three Rivers has the opportunity to integrate regional trail development into this work, which typically reduces the cost as compared to a stand-alone project. In addition, this trail will provide direct access to Noerenberg Gardens.
    • The Bassett Creek Regional Trail- Final Segment project in Golden Valley was awarded a federal transportation grant with work scheduled to occur in 2025. If funding becomes available sooner, the project can be moved forward.
    • The Bassett Creek Regional Trail Extension from Bonnie Lane to Wirth Parkway is a new project. The federally funded project referenced above ends at Bonnie Lane, as from that point east the trail was to be part of the Bottineau LRT project. The LRT has now moved locations, creating the need for this project. Staff will work with Hennepin County and the Metropolitan Council to secure full funding of this segment to reflect the impact of the decision to move the LRT from its previously agreed upon alignment. Consequently, it is listed as a separate project in the CIP.
    • The Richfield TH 77 underpass project has been moved from the Regional Trail Partnerships category to the Parks Partnership category to reflect the desire to redirect funding to a project that more closely aligns with Three Rivers Mission and System Plan.
    • The MAC Wildlife Area – Phase 3 cost estimate has been increased to a total of $1.5 million to reflect increased construction costs and additional boardwalk segments not in the original scope. The project is slated for 2024/25 and will be the final phase of improvements at this park.
    • The Natural Resources Management project list may be revised at the discretion of the new Director of Natural Resources. Funding per year will remain the same, but changes may occur within categories prior to the final CIP consideration of approval.


    Positioning Regional Trail Projects for Future Partnerships

    Appendix A of the CIP lists 11 regional trail projects that qualify for funding through the Federal Surface Transportation Improvement Program (STIP). The list includes both new construction and trail rehabilitation projects. Those projects in the CIP which were large enough and whose timing is flexible were moved from the CIP to this list. In addition, those projects that had been removed in last year’s CIP process have been readded to this list.

    These projects total over $31 million. Federal grants typically cover 80 percent of eligible construction costs, and would provide nearly $22 million in funding if all projects were funded. The balance would be funded through a to-be-determined partnership of parties committed to trails and non-motorized transportation.

    In the past, staff has limited STIP funding applications so as to not have our projects compete with each other. That strategy has been successful, and helped fund the Nokomis-Minnesota River, Nine Mile Creek, Bassett Creek, Crystal Lake, and Twin Lakes Regional Trails. However, it has also done a disservice to documenting the actual funding needs of the regional trails system, especially for reconstruction of existing trails. Staff proposes to apply for federal grants for all of the Appendix A listed trail projects in the 2022 STIP application cycle. Doing so has multiple benefits:

    • It provides transportation funding decision makers (e.g. the Transportation Advisory Board) with a formal and documented list of the needs and true costs of the regional trail network;
    • It serves as a model for the other nine regional park agencies to follow, which in turn amplifies the voice of the regional trail network and builds a case for a regional solution to trail funding; and
    • Being scored and being on the scored STIP list, regardless of ranking, makes the project eligible for other potential federal funding mechanisms, such as earmarks.

    It is unlikely that all projects would be funded in the first application cycle. Funded projects would then be folded into the future CIP. Unsuccessful projects would be added to the next application cycle.

    The first item in the list is the expected funding needed to apply for 11 federal grants. While most grant application work is done in house, it is expected that some external technical services will be needed. The anticipated funding need for 2022 is $33,000 – or $3,000 per application. If the Board is supportive of the proposed approach for addressing Appendix A projects, staff will fold the application cost line item into the regular CIP.

    Next Steps;

    Staff will bring back the Draft CIP for further discussion as part of the overall budget discussion scheduled for the Board’s August Study Session.

    Relationship to the System Plan

    The Request for Action supports the following goals(s) of the System Plan:

    • Goal 1: You Belong Here
    • Goal 2: Parks Matter
    • Goal 3: Lead by Example