COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT PLAN Project Title: Central Mississippi Riverfront Regional Park Master Plan

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1 Board Plan Approval/Review Date: 2014 (projected) Last Plan Revision Date: none COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT PLAN Project Title: Central Mississippi Riverfront Regional Park Master Plan MPRB Division: Planning Project Manager: Andrew Caddock As required by the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board Code of Ordinances, every construction or redevelopment project undertaken within the MPRB Capital Improvement Program (CIP) is to have a community engagement plan. The plan serves as a guide for the community engagement process through the multiple phases of planning and project development. The plan may be modified as circumstance warrants during project duration. Substantial modifications are to be communicated to stakeholders and the MPRB Board of Commissioners. Project Description This project will update the Central Mississippi Riverfront Regional Park master plan for review and approval by the Board and the Metropolitan Council s Metropolitan Parks and Open Space Commission (MPOSC). The community engagement process will bring together the visions for each individual MPRB owned park in this area, resulting in one cohesive Regional Park plan that will fulfill the Board s mission and policies, as well as the Metropolitan Council s requirements thus affording the Park Board access to additional funding for improvements, maintenance and operations. The Regional Park plan update will include recommendations for land acquisition, parks development, river access, cultural resource interpretation, environmental stewardship, programming and events, operations and maintenance, phasing and implementation strategies. The plan area has been the focus of many planning efforts since 1972, when the Mississippi/Minneapolis plan sparked renewed attention and redevelopment to one of our city s defining features. Some of Minneapolis oldest sites are there. The Park Board s visionary leadership and partnerships have created such places as Mill Ruins Park and the West River Parkway extension. In recent years, new visions and potential partnerships have emerged at Water Works, Water Power Park and Gold Medal Park. Recent plans prioritized for implementation include The Power of the Falls (2009) and the St. Anthony Falls East Bank Waterfall Feasibility Study (2011). However, currently MPRB has no unified park plan for the area that meets the Metropolitan Council s requirements for regional parks planning. The plan area (see map below) comprises several distinct MPRB owned parks and other properties on both sides of the river between the Plymouth Avenue Bridge and the I 35 W bridge: o Boom Island Park o BF Nelson Park o Nicollet Island o Main Street Park o Father Hennepin Bluffs Park

2 Page 2 o Lucy Wilder Memorial Park o Mill Ruins Park o West River Parkway o First Bridge Park o 4 th Avenue Playground As shown on the map below, the geographic scope of this regional park planning process extends beyond the MPRB owned parkland currently within the Central Mississippi Riverfront Regional Park to include a diverse mix of adjacent properties that influence park planning, key partnerships and park user experiences. Planning around some of these areas could result in an expansion of the Regional Park boundary, while for others it will inform park planning decisions and partnerships: o Water Power Park, owned by Xcel Energy and maintained by MPRB o The Stone Arch Bridge, owned by MN DoT and managed by MPRB o Gold Medal Park, owned by the City of Minneapolis o the Fuji ya/columbia Bassett Mill site, owned by MPRB o Gateway Park and its potential connections to the riverfront o the potential Main Street extension between Main Street SE and East River Parkway, including properties owned by several public and private entities including the University of Minnesota Project Funding Source(s) Capital Sources Amount Expiration Parks and Trails $ 200,000 n/a Supplemental Sources Amount Expiration MWMO grant SAFHB grant (applied for) $ 100,000 $ tbd n/a 2015 Engagement Recommendation Level of Engagement: Collaborate o The Central Riverfront is one of the city s most popular attractions for residents and tourists, attracting 1.6 million visitors in More than half of those visitors came from outside the City of Minneapolis. The plan area is a mosaic of public and private uses, various jurisdictions and layered histories. In addition, this planning process will be conducted concurrently with other planning process for overlapping areas and issues, to be conducted in partnership between MOPRB and other agencies. Staff recommends a collaborative approach inclusive of a diverse range of individuals and interests.

3 Page 3 Inform Consult Collaborate Partner Engagement Goal: MPRB Promise to the Public: To provide stakeholders with factual, balanced, and timely information to help them understand the project. The MPRB will keep stakeholders informed. To obtain stakeholder feedback on project analysis, alternatives, or decisions. The MPRB will keep stakeholders informed, listen to and acknowledge feedback, and work to ensure stakeholder feedback is reflected in alternatives developed. To work directly with stakeholders throughout the process to ensure that perspectives are consistently understood, considered, and reflected in project decisions. The MPRB will work with stakeholders for advice and innovation in formulating solutions and incorporate recommendations to the maximum extent possible. To partner with stakeholders in each aspect of decision making in order to develop and implement collaborative project solutions. The MPRB and partner entity will be accountable to their roles as negotiated in the partnership and regularly evaluate overall success of the partnership. This Regional Park plan requires a Board appointed Community Advisory Committee (CAC). Staff recommends the following draft CAC Charge: 1. The CAC shall meet regularly to serve as an advisory body representing community interests regarding park and recreation facilities, working in parallel to the staff Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) in recommending Regional Park plan elements. 2. The CAC shall contribute to broad community engagement by acting as primary contact to its represented communities and enhancing the project s interaction with a wide range of stakeholders, including park users from outside the city and the region. A recommended CAC Charge and Composition will be brought before the Board for formal action following this CEP. Anticipated Project Outcomes: o The intended outcome of the project is to revise the Regional Park plan so that it reflects not only the mission, policies and concerns of the Board, but also input from MPRB s partners and the broad spectrum of stakeholders engaged. o This Regional Park plan and CEP is supported by the MPRB Comprehensive Plan: Dynamic Parks that shape city character. Goal: Parks shape an evolving city. Strategy: Help shape the built form of the city by developing and/or implementing park plans to acquire parkland and build amenities in current or projected growth areas of the city. Stakeholder Roles and Responsibilities

4 Page 4 All stakeholders are expected to work collaboratively to create and refine design concepts and provide input toward final project recommendations for approval by the Board of Commissioners. Participants are expected to engage in the process in a manner that promotes respectful civil discourse and enhances mutual understanding of all stakeholder viewpoints. Any requests for public or project information should be directed to the project manager. Identification of Project Stakeholders and Issues As identified by preliminary engagement in 2012 with partner agencies, inter agency staff committees, adjacent institutions and area neighborhood organizations, stakeholders and issues that may be affected by the outcomes of the project include, but are not limited to, the following: STAKEHOLDERS pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists residents, tourists, students families & children Main Street merchants entertainment & hospitality Native Americans recreational boaters St. Anthony Falls Heritage Board Guthrie Theater US Post Office National Park Service Mill City Museum Xcel Energy UM Stream Lab ISSUES history & cultural interpretation signage & furnishings programming, events & venues food & beverage partnerships circulation conflicts infrastructure improvements better wayfinding & connections water access water quality, habitat winter activities Technical Advisory Committee A Technical Advisory Committee will be convened from staff of partner agencies and institutions, including but not limited to the following: City of Minneapolis DPW and CPED, Mississippi Watershed Management Organization, Minnesota Historical Society, Friends of the Mississippi River, National Park Service and UM Stream Lab. Project Advisory Committee MPRB management will appoint staff from several departments to a Project Advisory Committee (PAC) to support this process. The PAC will meet regularly to shape plan issues and to review plan outcomes. Outreach and Research Methods Research: The planning process began in 2012 with neighborhood outreach and research into past and current plans for the area. Over forty years, many plans have emerged. Some represent current policies and priorities to be considered in the Regional Park plan, while others represent a history of revitalization efforts and partnership models. Outreach: In addition to advisory committees and inter agency collaboration, the planning process will include extensive, ongoing stakeholder outreach at many levels throughout the

5 Page 5 project schedule. Core methods will include large public informational meetings, web surveys and visitor intercept surveys. Focus Areas: This planning process will address several areas with distinct characters, issues and user groups, as it typical of MPRB s urban regional parks. A key strategy will be to conduct a series of design charrettes that address each focus area individually within the context of a unified regional park plan. This approach will be useful for planning purposes, but also could lead to recommended changes to the regional park boundary. Staff s suggested focus areas are shown on the map below. The focus area boundaries could change based on stakeholder input early in the planning process. Areas of primary focus, where more intensive study and greater potential change are anticipated, are in bold. 1. Bassetts Creek/West River Parkway (trail reconstruction scheduled for 2014) 2. Boom Island Park/BF Nelson Park (renovations competed in 2012) 3. Nicollet Island North, including trail connection to BF Nelson Park 4. Nicollet Island South 5. Main Street, between Hennepin Avenue and 3 rd Avenue SE 6. Father Hennepin Bluffs Park/Water Power Park/Lucy Wilder Memorial Park 7. Main Street Extension study area 8. Water Works/Mill Ruins Park/Gold Medal Park 9. Gateway/First Bridge Park

6 Page 6 Project Schedule The Central Mississippi Riverfront Regional Park planning process will be conducted throughout 2013, with plan drafting and review continuing into early Key dates of public notices and communications will follow the schedule of public meetings for each focus area, as described above. The schedules of area neighborhood organizations will be considered for informational updates as well. During the warmer months of peak visitation, it will be important to engage the public directly through surveys, meeting notices and other methods at large gatherings: o MPRB Movies and Music in the Park July and August o Stone Arch Bridge Festival June o Fourth of July Fireworks o Mill City Live courtyard concerts August o Guthrie Theater performances ongoing through summer o Mill City Farmers Market Weekly, includes public information booth o 2 Minutes of Truth Telling MPRB staff collaborations with Native American artists o Third Ward Neighborhood Fest October Fortunately, the projected schedule parallels other planning processes to be conducted by MPRB and partners. Where appropriate, common resources and strategies can be employed, for example shared visitor surveys, or joint public meetings. Each of these concurrent processes has potential to inform and strengthen the others: o St. Anthony Falls Heritage Zone East Bank Interpretive Vision This inter agency effort to continue implementation of the Power of the Falls plan from Participating partners include MPRB, Minnesota Historical Society, National Park Service, University of Minnesota and the City of Minneapolis. o Water Power Park Recreation Plan Update In 2013, Xcel Energy is required by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to conduct visitor surveys to assess the ongoing need for recreational facilities and operations at Water Power Park. o West River Parkway Trail Renovation This 2014 MPRB project will reconstruct the existing trail alignment between 13 th Ave South and Plymouth Ave South. Planning and community engagement will begin in Resources Many resources will be mobilized in conducting the extensive public outreach and engagement necessary for this process. Staff time and consultant fees will be the primary resources. Also important will be the time of Advisory Committee volunteers, MPRB interns and seasonal researchers, and staff from partner agencies. MPRB Community Outreach staff will be enlisted to expand outreach at events such as Movies and Music Under the Stars. Evaluation Summary The project manager has analyzed the effectiveness of the engagement process from both stakeholder and organization points of view and provided a brief summary statement. The summary statement indicates how the process has advanced policy goals and will assist the Board and staff in evaluating and informing an ongoing community engagement process. Summary Statement: Statement pending plan completion.

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