HKGi

HOISINGTON KOEGLER GROUP INC.

PARKS AND RECREATION MASTER PLAN

Duluth, MN

2015 MERIT AWARD FOR ANALYSIS AND PLANNING
American Society of Landscape Architects, Minnesota

With over 11,000 acres of parks and open space, Duluth, (population 86,000) is rich in parks and recreation facilities. However, in recent years the City confronted shrinking budgets, recreational program cuts, and extensive maintenance needs. HKGi was retained by the City to develop a master plan to guide investments in the system, raise awareness about the system's role in attracting new businesses and employees as well as tourists, and create a more environmentally and economically sustainable system. Planners at HKGi led the community engagement process, collecting input from over 1,000 residents, evaluated the current system, and developed an action plan for improvements that also included funding and maintenance strategy recommendations.

The plan has been the catalyst for a host of improvements the City has made to its system. Eight of the plan's thirteen top priorities have been accomplished or are in process, including the establishment of a dedicated funding source for the park system, creation of a bike and trail master plan, identification of additional funding sources, and creation of improved plans for maintenance and volunteer coordination.

In addition to spurring improved management and funding initiatives, the plan has created a favorable environment for pursuing park and recreation system improvements and enhancements. Individual park master planning has allowed the City to make improvements at all levels of its system, including the creation of two new cross-city trails, improvements to destination facilities like Spirit Mountain and historic Wade Stadium, and enhanced recreational opportunities in the St. Louis River corridor. These efforts continue in conjunction with efforts to remove facilities identified by the system master plan as unsustainable or no longer needed.

In the time since this plan was adopted the City has been able to make tremendous strides in building a more efficient, effective, and sustainable parks and recreation system.