St. Paul District Councils Cohort

St. Paul District Councils Cohort featured image

Since 1975, the City of St. Paul has assembled neighborhood organizations into district councils, which engage with residents and collaborate with the city to address community needs. Through the 10 Minute Walk Partnership Fund, and additional funding from the McNeely Foundation, The Trust for Public Land supported six St. Paul district councils, representing 40% of St. Paul’s population. Many of these areas are communities of color and lower-income, and green investments in these areas help improve mental and physical health, strengthen neighborhood connection, and mitigate climate change. Each district council was granted $10,000 to fund projects like small park improvements and local community engagement activities:

  • District 1: Southeast Community Council
  • District 2: Greater Eastside Community Council (funded by McNeely Foundation)
  • District 3: West Side Community Organization
  • District 6: North End Neighborhood Organization
  • District 11: Hamline-Midway Coalition
  • District 13: Union Park District Council

Together, the cohort—the six district councils, the City of St. Paul staff, and The Trust for Public Land—engaged hundreds of community members, including many from under-represented communities, through one-on-one conversations, surveys, community events, and small focus groups. Through their findings, it is abundantly clear that St. Paulites love their parks. However, residents expressed barriers to their local parks such as:

  1. Public Safety: addressing the real and perceived threats to safety
  2. Maintenance: consistent and equitable care of parks and trails
  3. Design: providing a thoughtful mix of amenities
  4. Accessibility: ensuring safe and multi-access points to parks
  5. Involvement: engaging residents in park issues
  6. Activation: offering robust programming and education at parks
  7. Awareness: strong information-sharing
  8. Stewardship: supporting park champions
  9. Year-Round Use: ensuring usability in winter
  10. Trust & Healing: addressing racism and trauma in the parks

Over the year-long program, the cohort met to explore opportunities to advance equitable outcomes for all residents, while defining action steps to reduce barriers and create safe, green spaces. Identifying these short-term and long-term goals will get people to the places where they can play, relax, and connect.

Read the full report: 10-Minute Walk Campaign Partnership Fund