June 2012 Meeting

This meeting had a few agenda items that approved a bunch of things in bulk, as well as a discussion about a proposed policy change, so there was a bit more content than usual.

First, we had a request originally brought forth by Scott County and then echoed by Metropolitan Council staff to consider eliminating the existing 25% local match requirement for Park Acquisition Opportunity Fund grants, and possibly amending the other terms of those grants as well. The basic argument is that when the rule was originally established, the funds available through MPOSC were more limited than they are today, but have since been substantially expanded through the Legacy Amendment passed in 2008. In addition to bringing in more money total, it also means that there is a consistent revenue stream every year, rather than relying on bonding bills that may or may not even exist in any given year. Meanwhile, deep cuts to human services and local aid by the legislature in recent years means that less money is available to the counties directly, so they are having difficulty coming up with the local match for substantial acquisitions, at a time when market prices for property are at record lows and there are many great opportunities for acquisition that we don't want to miss out on. However, this suggestion was first raised less than two weeks ago, and some of the other park agencies had concerns about some of the changes being considered, both with respect to the local match amount and caps on the amount any individual agency could receive in a year. The representative from the Minneapolis Park Board suggested that it would be better if the 10 implementing agencies could have a chance to discuss amongst themselves and bring forth a unified proposal to the Commission, and many commissioners want to gather additional information before taking any other action as well. So, we directed staff of both the implementing agencies and the Metropolitan Council to discuss and be prepared to present a detailed proposal at the August meeting, with opportunities for commissioners to get their own questions answered in the meantime.

Just outside the boundaries of this district, over in District F, we approved a grant request from Anoka County for acquisition of 85 acres on the northern end of Rice Creek Chain of Lakes Regional Park Reserve. This was pretty straightforward as this is the same parcel that we approved a Master Plan boundary amendment for in April.

A second request from Anoka County was approved to amend a set of different grants to reflect changing numbers for projects they have underway. Two grants were reduced, one was increased, and another had its scope expanded with no change in dollar amount, for an overall amendment that was financially neutral. These grants related to completing the boat launch at Mississippi West Regional Park, day camp redevelopment in Rice Creek Chain of Lakes Park Reserve, a Volunteer Resource Development Coordinator's salary for the county at-large, and Conservation Corps of Minnesota crews doing natural resource restoration and management work around the county. Again, the total dollar figure of the four grants combined remained unchanged - this was essentially just shuffling money around to where it was most useful as costs become finalized.

The final item discussed affecting this district was an amendment to the 2012 Unified Capital Budget, as a result of the legislature passing a bonding bill and the amount of the FY 2013 Parks and Trails Legacy Fund appropriation becoming available. Unlike our usual consideration of grants for property acquisitions, this is the set of grants for park and trail development and upkeep. The total amount allotted to each implementing agency is pre-determined by a formula in our Park Policy Plan, and then the agencies tell us how they would like to spend that money. The approved requests included the following grants of interest in and around this area:

  • $798,000 for Anoka County to design and construct roadway, parking lots, trails, storm water improvements, utilities, lighting, landscape restoration, site furnishings, and signage at Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park
  • $515,00 to Three Rivers Park District for development of the Silverwood Special Recreation Feature (which specializes in nature-inspired art classes) and reconstructions of the Shingle Creek Regional Trail, which connects Silverwood to Coon Rapids Dam and Elm Creek Regional Parks.
  • $1,281,000 to Anoka County for a whole slate of projects, including:
    • $230,000 for replacement of the filtration system for the wave pool at Bunker Hills
    • $125,000 for roadway, trail, and fishing access development at Coon Rapids Dam
    • $250,000 for completion of roadway, utility, and campsite constructions at Rice Creek Chain of Lakes
    • $216,000 for additional day camp redevelopment at Rice Creek Chain of Lakes, including constructions and rehabilitation of shelters
    • $100,00 to complete redevelopment of the beach wall at Lake George
    • $160,000 for design and reconstruction of the entrance drive, parking lot, and sidewalks at the Manomin Park trailhead of Rice Creek West Regional Trail
    • $200,000 to design and reconstruct the southern segment of the Mississippi River Regional Trail
  • $55,000 to Anoka County for Minnesota Conservation Corps crews to rehabilitate and restore natural resources and develop facilities throughout the county's portion of the regional parks and trails system
  • $65,000 to Anoka County for a Volunteer and Resource Coordinator for use throughout the county's portion of the regional parks and trails system
  • $110,000 to Ramsey County for a Minnesota Conservation Corps crew that will work to better engage youth in regional parks and trails throughout the county
  • $318,000 to Ramsey County for design and construction of trail in Vadnais-Snail Lakes Regional Park, replacing Sucker Lake Road north of County Road F with a dual-track paved and natural-surface trail, as well as improving site amenities
  • $614,000 to Ramsey County for design and reconstruction of the Lexington Trailhead for the Rice Creek North Regional Trail, including parking lot, restrooms, trail, and canoe launch
  • $194,000 to Three Rivers Park District for planning and design for the development of a campground at Elm Creek Regional Park (just southwest of Anoka County)
  • $794,000 to Washington County for surface repair of the Hardwood Creek Regional Trail (just east of the Anoka/Washington county border)

Meeting Minutes

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