January 2018: Mark Koegler, CEO, Announces Retirement

It is with mixed feelings that Hoisington Koegler Group (HKGi) announces the retirement of Mark Koegler, current CEO and long-time firm principal. Mark joined Hoisington Group, creating HKGi, in 1991. He has been a steady force in the growth and development of the firm since that time. His approach to client service, meaningful community engagement, and creating feasible, action-oriented plans has guided HKGi’s practice and philosophy for more than twenty years. This approach has established a strong foundation for the firm’s future growth and success.

Mark’s integrity, leadership, and ability to build consensus across interest groups have also been key to the success of hundreds of planning and design initiatives throughout the upper Midwest. He has worked with dozens of communities in the region during his career, helping civic leaders, residents, employers, and other community members make their cities better places in which to live, work and play. The plans and initiatives he helped create will continue to influence and guide communities for years to come.

Mark’s retirement will be effective as of April 27th. We at HKGi would like to express our gratitude to Mark for his years of leadership and service to both staff and clients. He will be missed but we are happy for him as he embarks on a new and exciting chapter in his life. Please join us in wishing Mark the best in all that lies ahead.

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.

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.