September 2018: HKGi Master Plans Help Fergus Falls Secure $600K in State Grant Funding

The Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources has recommended the City of Fergus Falls for a $600,000 grant to create a multi-use trail and bicycle-pedestrian bridge near the downtown area. HKGi recently completed the Downtown/Riverfront Master Plan and the Glacial Edge Trail Master Plan for the City, both of which were key elements of the City's grant application.

The Fergus Falls projects were among 67 projects across the state that were recommended for funding out of 273 applications. Funding comes from the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund. You can read more about the project and the award in the Fergus Falls Journal, and you can read more about the Downtown/Riverfront Master Plan.

September 2018: Chanhassen Parks and Recreation System Plan Will Receive Community Engagement Award

The Minnesota chapter of the American Planning Association will recognize the Chanhassen Parks and Recreation System Plan for Excellence in Community Engagement at its upcoming state planning conference in Rochester. HKGi and the City of Chanhassen recently collaborated to develop the city's first ever comprehensive park and recreation system plan, and the planning process enjoyed an exceptionally high level of participation from community members, park and trail users, and other stakeholders from throughout Chanhassen and the surrounding communities.

Nearly 10% of the community participated in the process by completing online surveys, leaving comments and suggestions via an interactive mapping application, and participating in open houses, public hearings, focus group meetings, and pop up meetings and workshops. The high rate of participation was the result of a proactive and expansive public awareness campaign and also reflects the community's pride and sense of ownership in its parks and recreation system.

In presentations to the City Council, Parks Department leadership was able to demonstrate the community's desire to maintain and enhance the system and confirm the value of investing in the system. The City Council responded by officially adopting the maintenance/repair/replacement of parks facilities as a Key Financial Strategy. Input also shaped the plan's priorities and will continue to shape implementation for the next two decades.

September 2018: HKGi Clients Awarded Nearly $3 Million for Park and Trail Projects

Several HKGi clients will receive funding assistance in fiscal year 2019 from the state's Legacy Parks and Trails Fund for park and trail improvement projects that were reviewed and recommended for funding by the Greater Minnesota Regional Parks and Trails Commission (GMRPTC). HKGi collaborated with City and County staff members and other stakeholders to develop master plans for each of these parks and trails. HKGi led community members through the visioning process, concept exploration and refinement, and the establishment of implementation priorities and phasing. These master plans formed the basis for funding applications to the GMRPTC, and will form the basis for future improvement projects at each of these regionally designated parks and trails.

Projects recommended for funding include:

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.