November 2017: HKGi Helps Secure $1.5 million in Grant Funding

HKGi's grant writing and administration services continue to help clients secure funding for active living and pedestrian-bicycle improvements that improve safety, enrich recreational opportunities, enhance sustainability, and protect significant cultural amenities like the Swing Bridge in Inver Grove Heights (photo on left).

The most recent successful grants written and administered by HKGi include:

  • $600,000 for the Minnesota River Cedar Avenue Trailhead from the Federal Lands Access Program (Client: Dakota County)
  • $984,000 to close the Wentworth Avenue Trail Gap in West St. Paul (Client: Dakota County and the City of West St. Paul)

HKGi's services for grant writing include helping clients identify appropriate grant opportunities, compiling background information, developing cost estimates, composing graphics and supporting materials, and completing and submitting grant applications. Since 2009 HKGi has helped clients secure over $21 million in funding through a variety of federal, state, and regional grants programs.

For more information contact (link) Rita Trapp.

September 2017: HKGi Receives 2 Minnesota Planning Awards

HKGi provided leadership for two different projects that received planning awards at the 2017 Minnesota chapter of the American Planning Association annual conference. The Success Stories in Implementation Award was given to the Downtown Master Plan and subsequent implmentation initiatives that have helped attract new visitors and businesses to downtown Chaska. The Context in Planning Award was given to the Eliot School Reuse Site Study and Redevelopment in St. Louis Park.

The Chaska Downtown Master Plan, which was completed in 2012, has provided the foundation for several highly successful redevelopment initiatives:

  • Construction of The Landing, a 54-unit affordable apartment development
  • Development of the Chaska Event Center, Curling Center, and Crooked Pint Ale House
  • Improvements to Firemen's Park
  • Planned improvements to Veteran's Park
  • Streetscape reconstruction throughout the downtown core
  • Development of Historic Signage Design Guidelines
  • Establishment of business assistance programs to aid signage upgrades
  • Continued planning for redevelopment, City Square improvements, and wayfinding

The City of Chaska, HKGi, and Chaska's downtown business community collaborated on developing the Downtown Master Plan and all three have been instrumental in many of the subsequent implmentation initiatives.

The Eliot School Reuse Site Study was conducted in 2010 and redevelopment of the site was complete in 2015. For the study, HKGi worked with the City of St. Louis Park to collect input from the neighborhood in order to aid in establishing site and design guidelines for redevelopment of the school site. The engagement effort was essential in ensuring that redevelopment would not only meet the desires of neighborhood residents, but would also achive the City's goals in terms of providing diverse housing within the community. Key principles that emerged from the study suggested that redevelopment of the site should attempt to maintain the school's building footprint, which would preserve open space at the front of the site along Cedar Lake Road. Other principles included stepped-back building massing and limited building heights, connectivity midway through the large site, underground parking, and sidewalks around the site perimeter and connecting individual apartment entries to the street.

The Siena Apartment Homes, completed in 2015, adheres to all of these criteria as well as provided two new single-family homes, a public open space along Cedar Lake Road, and a new playground at the northern edge of the development.

September 2017: HKGi CEO Mark Koegler Receives Lifetime Achievement Award

On September 27, 2017 the Minnesota Chapter of the American Planning Association (MN APA) awarded HKGi's longtime leader Mark Koegler with a Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his career as a planner and his contributions to the planning profession in the state of Minnesota. The award is given to nominees who have displayed "innovation and creativity...commitment and dedication to the field of planning" and who have had sustained impacts and have been advocates for planning throughout their careers."

Mark, a graduate of Iowa State University, has been a planner and landscape architect for forty-two years, and for the past three-plus decades he has provided business and professional leadership as a Principal with Hoisington Koegler Group Inc. During his time as a Principal, HKGi has grown from a three person planning firm into an eighteen person company that, in addition to planning services, also provides landscape architecture, urban design, and market analysis services to municipalities, counties, governmental agencies, and private developers in the Twin Cities, greater Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota, and Wisconsin.

With Mark's leadership, HKGi has not only won more than three dozen planning and design awards, but more importantly, has also helped dozens of other communities and clients develop plans and strategies that have guided their land use and investment decisions and established the foundation for future growth, sustainability, and economic development. His project management skill and his ability to build trust and consensus amongst groups with differing interests have been keys to his success and to the success of many of the region's most challenging projects. Highlights of his experience include work on the Minneapolis Downtown East/North Loop Master Plan, which has guided much of the growth in those two areas over the past decade, preliminary station area planning for all stations along the planned Southwest LRT line, investment planning for the Minnehaha-Hiawatha LRT corridor in south Minneapolis, and work on the Greater Southdale Land Use and Transportation Study, which also provided guidance for recent redevelopment in Edina's Southdale area. Mark has also led redevelopment and downtown revitalization planning for several Minnesota and Iowa cities, including Excelsior, Hutchinson, Prior Lake, Lakeville, Waukee (IA), and Johnston (IA) and he has conducted comprehensive planning for dozens of communities throughout the region.

Mark has also applied his leadership skills to enriching the professional development and planning environment in the Twin Cities. In addition to providing advice and mentorship to planners and landscape architects at HKGi, was instrumental in helping revitalize the Sensible Land Use Coalition (SLUC), which brings together real estate developers, government planning staff, and planning consultants. He has served as President and Board Member of SLUC and he helped make it one of the most influential land use organizations in the Twin Cities. In 2016 he was also initiated as a member of Lambda Alpha International, a professional society whose membership consists of professionals from fields related to land use, economics and development.

Please join us in congratulating Mark on an outstanding career and for his continued contributions to communities throughout Minnesota and the Upper Midwest.

July 2017: HKGi Grants Administration Services Garners Funding for Clients

HKGi recently led a successful grant writing process for several Dakota County trail and pedestrian improvement projects, including securing a Local Connections Grant from the MN DNR for the Rose Bluff Trail Connection in Burnsville. In all, HKGi helped the County secure more than $3.2 million for infrastructure improvements that promote active living through hiking, running, walking and biking. Several of the improvements, like the Rose Bluff Trail Connection, will also improve connectivity between existing trail segments and between residents and recreational and natural resources.

In addition to the MN DNR grant, HKGi assisted Dakota County in securing Statewide Health Improvement Partnership (SHIP) funds for the following projects:

  • Oakdale and Marie Trail Extension in West St. Paul - $1,195,360
  • Robert Street Trail Connection in West St. Paul - $656,000
  • Wentworth Avenue Sidewalk Improvements in South St. Paul - $287,200
  • Southview Boulevard Sidewalk Improvements in South St. Paul - $1,000,000

You can learn more about SHIP's active living strategies or learn more about the MN Department of Health's SHIP program..

May 2017: Rita Trapp Receives National Leadership Award in NYC

Join HKGi in congratulating Rita Trapp, AICP, an Associate with HKGi, who attended the American Planning Association's (APA) annual conference in New York City, where she was recognized for her outstanding service to the APA's Minnesota Chapter. Rita received the Chapter Presidents Council Leadership Award for Chapter Professional Development Officers for her work as the MN APA's Professional Development Officer (PDO).

Rita served as chapter PDO for six years. During that time she helped the chapter transition to online reporting for continuing education. She also helped add two more PDO positions to better manage all of the PDO's responsibilities, including providing year-round educational sessions, annual conference planning, and AICP certification preparation. The MN APA made significant progress in the area of professional development during Rita's tenure, and her work has been much-appreciated.

You can email Rita, or read more about her service in this interview from the March-April 2017 Planning Minnesota newsletter.

January 2017: HKGi Projects in the News

HKGi projects in Fergus Falls and Saint Paul have attracted media coverage:

  • HKGi is currently leading a downtown and riverfront master planning project in Fergus Falls, working in collaboration with our neighbors Miller Dunwiddie and engineering firm Bolton & Menk. The project is still in its early phases, but the community turned out in large numbers for the first big engagement and input event. Read local coverage of the project from the Fergus Falls Journal right here and right here.
  • HKGi was a key consultant contributing to the award-winning Great River Passage Master Plan in Saint Paul. Implmentation work has been ongoing behind the scenes, but as the Star Tribune notes in this article, the plan's impact will become more noticeable this summer with the establishment of new recreational opportunities that create greater connections between the Mississippi River and the City.