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MINNESOTA Official Publication of Minnesota Recreation and Park Association

Recreation and Parks Volume 8, Issue 3 • Fall 2013

Dog Parks

Important for Dogs and Owners Alike

Celebrating History, Nature & The Arts

Art in the Parks

Themed activities and programs held in local parks

See what the new kid on the block can do for your next meeting, special event or competition.

Discover St. Louis Park is just under a year old, but our city is no stranger to hosting events and meetings. This year St. Louis Park will play host to the Minnesota Tree Climbing Championships and Twin Cities Film Fest. Last year we hosted a new event, Cavalia, the cirque-style spectacle. Our central location which includes unique indoor and outdoor meeting and event spaces will make your functions more memorable. St. Louis Park is convenient and easy to get to – literally right across the street from Minneapolis. So close, in fact, we share a zip code. Contact us at (952) 426-4047 to see how our hotels and event spaces can host your next big event in St. Louis Park. Comfortably close to it all. (952) 426-4047



Recreation and Parks

Publisher Minnesota Recreation and Park Association 200 Charles Street NE, Fridley, MN 55432 Tel: 763.571.1305 Editorial Staff Michelle J. Snider Bethani Gerhard Editorial Board Patty Anderson, Maple Grove Jan Ficken, Brooklyn Park Jennifer Fink, Ramsey County Chad Ubl, Winona Heidi Sedlacek, New Brighton Advertising & Design Pernsteiner Creative Group, MRPA Board of Directors President: Cindy Walsh, St. Louis Park President Elect: Mary Pat Black, Brooklyn Park Past President: Jack Kirk, Fridley Secretary: Diane Evans, Plymouth Treasurer: Mary Jo Knudson, Owatonna RSC Chair: Jerry Ruegemer, Chanhassen East Metro: Barry Bernstein, Apple Valley East Metro: Dan Schultz, Rosemount East Metro: Jared Flewellen, Woodbury Northwest Region: Dolf Moon, Hutchinson Northeast Region: Marc Mattice, Wright County Southern Region: Rick Schaber, Saint Charles West Metro: Aimee Peterson, Chaska West Metro: Boe Carlson, Three Rivers Park District West Metro: Donna Tilsner, Edina This magazine is the official quarterly publication of Minnesota Recreation and Park Association and is provided complimentary to members as part of their MRPA membership. The editorial board encourages the submission of articles and photos for publication. Articles of approximately 500-700 words or less may be submitted, but may be edited for length and clarity. Contact Michelle Snider, MRPA, at 763.571.1305 x100 if interested in submitting an article for a future issue.

Deadlines for Articles and Advertising Winter 2013-14 issue...................... October 14 Spring 2014 issue.......................... February 28 Summer 2014 issue................................May 13 Fall 2014 issue......................................... July 30 MRPA reserves the right to approve all submitted advertising in MINNESOTA Recreation and Parks magazine. All requests for advertising should be made to Todd Pernsteiner, Account Manager, at 952.841.1111 or

By Cindy Walsh, MRPA President

I hope this issue of the MRPA magazine finds you excited for the annual conference. We are looking forward to a great turn out. We have an excellent slate of sessions and speakers. The MRPA conference theme this year is “Branching Out.” The pre-conference institute starts on the September 24, with the conference September 25 through 27 at the Earle Brown Center.

enhance spaces, create community conversations, provide a sense of place, and form an informal gathering place. Communities who implement public art programs quickly realize that art means different things to each person who views it. Everyone has an opinion about it.

One of the topics in this magazine is public art. Along with the rise of dog parks, public art is quickly becoming part of Minnesota’s culture, and an area in which parks and recreation staff are getting more involved. Implementing a public art program has been part of my job in St. Louis Park for many years. I really enjoy the variety that it has brought to my job. Public art encompasses a wide variety of creative expressions in the public realm. Public art serves multiple purposes. It can

adapt so that we are the department the public looks to for new ideas and services.

If you are interested in starting a public art program or commissioning a piece for your City, feel free to contact me. We use Jack Becker of Dog parks continue to be on the Forecast Public Art as a consultant rise. Pets are important in our lives. to help us select As you can see by the picture above “In a world that is con- artists and to genthat even the Walsh stantly changing there erate ideas about what type of art family has joined is no one subject or can fit the space the ranks as dog set of subjects that we have available. owners. Lucy and I He is a wealth of enjoy our very early will serve you for the walks around our foreseeable future, let knowledge and wisdom. neighborhood evalone the rest of your ery morning. Parks Whether it is dog life. The most imporand recreation deparks or public partments around tant skill to acquire art, parks and recthe state are creatnow is learning how to reation needs to ing dog parks and learn.” – John Naisbitt continue to prorealizing that places vide programs and and programs for public spaces that people to interact with their dogs show value to their community. As are more than just a passing fad. professionals we need to learn and

“In a world that is constantly changing there is no one subject or set of subjects that will serve you for the foreseeable future, let alone the rest of your life. The most important skill to acquire now is learning how to learn.” – John Naisbitt See you at the conference! Cindy

An affiliate of National Recreation and Park Association

Fall 2013 • MINNESOTA Recreation and Parks 3

TABLE OF CONTENTS From the Board President............................................................... 5 Keeping Up....................................................................................... 6 MRPA in Action................................................................................ 7 Meet Jamie Polley............................................................................ 7 Foundation Corner.......................................................................... 8 Turtle Derby...................................................................................... 8 Art in the Parks............................................................................... 10 Creating Artful Playground Designs........................................... 14 Step Up and Make Music.............................................................. 16 Celebrating History, Nature & The Arts...................................... 17 Pet Expos Gaining Popularity....................................................... 18 Dog Parks: Important for Dogs and Owners Alike.................... 20 Fun with Fido.................................................................................. 22 MRPA Flashback............................................................................. 23

ADVERTISER INDEX Commercial Recreation Specialists............................................. 15 Discover St. Louis Park...................................... Inside Front Cover HIWAY Federal Credit Union.......................................................... 5 Landscape Structures...................................................................... 9 Musco Lighting...............................................................Back Cover Push, Pedal, Pull............................................................................. 19 R.J. Thomas Manufacturing............................................................ 4 Stantec.............................................................................................. 4

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Recreation and Parks

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4 MINNESOTA Recreation and Parks •

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Wake up to a

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Keeping Up

Bastian and Jacobson Retire After 30-Plus Years on the Job “Keeping Up” is a feature highlighting MRPA member events, news, people and more. To contribute to this section, please send a 125 word or less brief and photos to Michelle Snider at MRPA (

Ron Bastian Retires After 39 Years in the Profession Ron Bastian officially retired as Rochester Park and Recreation’s director on June 30, 2013. His first official job was as a park maintenance worker in the summer of 1968 for the City of Rochester. He had just graduated high school and began doing all kinds of grunt work. Bastian worked for the park department throughout his college years at Mankato State College (now called Minnesota State University Mankato). He especially enjoyed maintaining the ice rinks as he is a big hockey fan. His first full-time job out of college was as Kasson’s park department director. After 10 years there, he was hired at Rochester Park and Recreation in park maintenance. Bastian states that getting the chance to go back to the Rochester Park and Recreation Department was worth the step down in job title. He spent the next 29 years working in various management positions in park and recreation, until he landed the director position six years ago.

During his 29-year career at the City of Rochester, Bastian saw a lot of changes and developments, including Graham Arena’s expansion, the addition of Foster-Arend Beach, golf course expansions, new baseball and softball facilities, the National Volleyball Center and partnering with University Center Rochester to design and open the Regional Sports Stadium and bubble. “I think that’s our strength as a department. We’ve got very dedicated, very smart, knowledgeable people on our staff. And that bodes well for the future,” Bastian said. Bastian is now looking forward to spending time with family, especially his five grandchildren, golfing, and traveling with his wife. He said he feels fortunate that from a very young age, about 14, he knew what he wanted to do for a living, and that he was able to do it. “There are a lot of people who get college degrees and they never have a chance to work in the field that they graduated in. So, I was really one of the lucky ones — very, very blessed,” he said.

Rick Jacobson Retires After 44 Years in the Profession Rick Jacobson retired in July of 2013, after 44 years in the parks and recreation profession, 28 years being with Golden Valley Parks and Recreation. Jacobson states while in his second year at the University of Minnesota, he was considering a couple of different majors, neither of which was parks and recreation. After talking with a good friend who was majoring in parks and recreation, which sounded interesting to him, he decided to declare that as his major, and has never regretted it. “While in college, I was involved in aquatics both at the university and at the Edina Municipal Pool,” states Jacobson, retired director of Golden Valley Parks and Recreation. “I served my internship at Edina, and fortunately, as graduation was approaching, Edina was advertising for a recreation supervisor.”

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Jacobson got the job and began working full-time for Edina in 1969 and then moved in to the position of assistant director. Jacobson states, “In 1985, I applied for the director’s position in Golden Valley, which has been an outstanding and progressive community with residents who value their parks and recreation programs. We have all heard the virtues of professional involvement, but I believe it cannot be emphasized enough. I’ve been lucky to work for organizations who value professional involvement. MRPA, with its excellent staff, and all the professionals over the years have made our organization a major source for learning, sharing and contributing.” Jacobson adds, “I have been blessed to have worked in two cities where parks and recreation are a highly valued service. The rewards are abundant and always visible as I visit parks, programs, and facilities, and see people building healthier lives, skills, friendships, and quality family time.”

MRPA in Action 2013 MN Tough Mudder

< Meet Jamie Polley

Jamie Polley has always participated in sports and programs. She recreation wanted to pursue a career working with athletics. She swam for two years at the University of Wisconsin La Crosse and was originally planning to pursue athletic training. “I quickly found out I could not be an athlete and complete the athletic training program,” says Polley, who is currently the director of Shakopee Parks, Recreation & Natural Resources. “I ended up getting my bachelor’s degree in exercise and sports science with a math minor. My swim coach then strongly encouraged me to pursue graduate school for sports management.”

MRPA Members, (R-L) Jason West, Todd Murawski, Jennifer Fink and John Stutzman, after they traversed 10 miles and 18 obstacles, in just over three hours, at the 2013 Minnesota Tough Mudder! This race was created by British Special Ops, and promotes teamwork, mental toughness, and the idea that you leave no Tough Mudder behind! Congrats to these four Tough Mudders and any other MRPA members who participated! Share your personal race stories with MRPA magazine. Submit them to for consideration.

MRPA Facility Tours Members toured parks and recreation facilities during the west tour on August 6 and the east tour on August 21. Both tours were hosted by the Parks, Natural Resources and Facilities Section. The facilities visited during the west tour were Rotary Music Plaza – Maple Grove, Wheelchair Softball Field – Brooklyn Park, Rivers Edge Commons Park, Maintenance Facility and Orono Park Playground – Elk River, Splash Pad – Otsego, The Draw – Ramsey and Eastman Nature Center, Three Rivers Park District – Dayton. The toured facilities in the east were Como Regional Park Pool – St. Paul, Lions Playground – Burnsville, Valleywood Golf Course – Apple Valley, Regional Athletics Center – West St. Paul, Splash Pad – Cottage Grove and Miracle League Field – Woodbury. MRPA extends a special thank you to those involved in highlighting their facilities, as well as to Jared Flewellen and Andrea Weber for their work in coordinating the tours.

Polley’s career began with her graduate assistantship at Ball State University, where the graduate assistants were the full-time staff in addition to a director and two assistant directors. “I received my master’s degree from Ball State in sports management with a business minor,” she states. “Working in the recreation department at Ball State I was able to work with facilities management, youth and family programs, intramural sports, sport clubs and aquatics.” From graduate school, she received her first recreation job with the Milwaukee Public Schools recreation division as an assistant recreation supervisor. She worked in Milwaukee for two years and received her first parks and recreation director’s position in 2003 with the City of New London, Wisconsin. “In 2007, I moved to Minnesota and became the director of Parks, Recreation & Natural Resources for the City of Shakopee.” Polley was involved with the Wisconsin Park and Recreation Association so when she moved to Minnesota, she was interested in attending various MRPA meetings and activities. “My main involvement with MRPA began in 2010 when I co-chaired the Annual Conference with Mark Themig,” she states. “We then again co-chaired the 2011 Annual Conference.” Polley has also been involved with the Professional Development Committee. She is currently assisting the programming committee for the 2013 Annual Conference with the Director’s Forum. “By being involved in MRPA, I am fortunate to meet so many other professionals that I now can contact to bounce ideas off of, use as a resource, share ideas with or just talk,” Polley says. “There are so many resources out there that we can all share and use. I am hoping to share some of the things I learned while attending the 2011 and 2012 National Recreation and Park Association Director’s School at the Director’s Forum this year.”

MRPA members are the heart of our organization. They are involved and committed to advancing the parks and recreation programming. MRPA in Action is a new magazine feature which will highlight one section/committee and one professional per issue.

Fall 2013 • MINNESOTA Recreation and Parks 7

Foundation Corner

Minnesota Recreation and Park Foundation MRPF Looking Forward to MRPA Annual Conference The Minnesota Recreation and Park Foundation is once again a proud sponsor of the 2013 Minnesota Recreation and Park Association Annual Conference. Be sure to stop by and visit the Foundation booth at the exhibit hall where we will have the silent auction and raffle. Enjoy the dynamic mini keynote presentations followed by the Foundation Student Luncheon. Lastly, all MRPF members (even new ones) remember to look for your membership benefits and recognition packets at the conference.

MRPF Fall Happenings MRPF continued to host the Annual Golf Tournament on Friday, September 13 at the Braemar Golf Course in Edina, which was a great opportunity for members to extend the golf season. Special thanks to Jody Yungers and Michelle Margo for all of their efforts putting the tournament together! The Foundation is also preparing for the MRPF Student Scholarship Program and will begin accepting applications soon. This program is designed to provide financial assistance for juniors, seniors, and graduate students who are majoring in a Minnesota educational curriculum with a park and recreation emphasis and



By Brad Eller, Recreation Supervisor, Shakopee Parks and Recreation

Excitement builds in Shakopee as young and old (even the middle-aged) converge upon Huber Park on the Minnesota riverfront annually for the Shakopee Derby Days festival, and along with it, the Turtle Derby event. It’s a bring your own entry (or borrow an entry) event drawing hundreds of spectators, of which almost 200 compete.

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excellence in their abilities, leadership qualities, job experience and commitment to the park and recreation profession. Several $1,000 scholarships will be awarded at the MRPA Annual Meeting in January. For more details regarding student scholarships please contact Nate Rosa at

Become a Member of MRPF? For $20 you can become a member of the Minnesota Recreation and Park Foundation and be eligible for these programs and benefits available to MRPF members. The MRPF Board of Trustees is getting excited for the 2nd annual MRPF Membership Drive at the MRPA Annual Conference beginning Wednesday during the exhibit hall – what better time to become a member of the Foundation! Minnesota Recreation and Park Foundation is the only non-profit organization solely dedicated to promoting excellence in the parks and recreation profession, and we take pride in supporting our members and the profession. The Foundation’s primary objective is to support the education, innovation and training for all members in our profession!

‘Shiny shells bursting with turtle power will scurry or slouch their way across the finish line. Prizes and prestige on the riverfront.’ This racing event has no sanctioning body other than Mother Nature. Turtles have trained all summer for this as they cross roadways and dodge cars, free dive off of logs, work on their endurance swim strokes and then rehab their muscles in bath-like swamp waters. On race day, turtles are given VIP treatment in one of the holding pools complete with amenities. They are then escorted to the inner circle where they await commands from their human counterpart as the starting whistle sounds. The end result may leave you scratching your shell. For some, the training has paid off with

speeds reaching fractions of a mile per hour. Others have apparently decided to strike with the turtle union and refuse to go to work. The fun part is there are speedy winners and slow poke winners. Each has the chance to compete in championship heats. Both young and old are shoulder to shell as all are vying for prizes and prestige. At the end of the day, some will hide their heads and others will parade their way back to the swamp where they came from, bragging about the trophy they won and what a great time they had competing in Shakopee.

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Art in the parks ranges from a place in nature where both the visual and performing arts are held to themed activities and programs held in a local park. Caponi Art Park Caponi Art Park, located in Eagan, opened in 1987 for tours and planned activities. The park now features a sculpture garden, with over 30 sculptures by Anthony Caponi, park founder, sculptor and retired professor. Caponi used this philosophy to integrate art, life and nature together. Caponi Art Park began as an outdoor laboratory to teach and demonstrate how creativity is a necessary part of life. In addition to the sculpture garden and special activities planned throughout the year, the park features hiking in the wooded trails throughout the 60-acres of land. Theatrical events and performances by the region’s top artists are held at Theater in the Woods, a large outdoor amphitheater in the park’s hilly landscape. Just one of the many events held at Caponi Art Park is the Medieval Fair. This year’s event will be held on September 29, 2013. Visitors can discover what it was like to live during the Middle Ages. Some of the activities will be music, storytelling bards, jugglers, cooking, period games, heraldry, glass bead making, a lace making demonstration, and much more. Coin making and pewter casting demos have been added to the 2013 event. “The City of Eagan owns the land on which Caponi Art Park operates,” states Juli Seydell Johnson, Eagan Parks and Recreation director. “The Caponi Art Park Board is a separate 501(c)3 non-profit that provides all programs and events at the art park.” Seydell Johnson adds that the City of Eagan is a close partner and she is a member of the Caponi Art Park Board. For more information on Caponi Art Park and the activities held throughout the year, visit

Family Art Day Extravaganza

in the


Family Art Day Extravaganza is a free event held each year in September at Lake Park, Winona. Many of the arts activities have an open, free flowing structure for all ages, such as music, mask, and puppet making as well as mural painting. The goal of Family Art Day is to give participants a wide array of experiences and a choice for a more intense experience with drawing, watercolor and acrylic painting, pop-up books, weaving, basketry and doll making. “Generous space allows for lots of movement, especially for performance and music sessions,” says Bernadette Mahfood, program coordinator for River Arts Alliance. “Almost all of the artists are teachers and/or professional artists and artisans with decades of experience.”

By Bethani Gerhard | Minnesota Recreation and Park Association

Fall 2013 • MINNESOTA Recreation and Parks 11

Mahfood explains that all artists choose how they will structure their individual sessions within the day’s time-frame, and the number of participants for each of their respective sessions. “Many of the artists teach 50-minute sessions with groups of six to 12 participants,” she says. “Volunteers manage the sign-up sheets for all art sessions. This is especially critical for wheel thrown pottery. This activity was so popular in 2008 that the

pottery activity increased from one wheel in 2008 to four wheels in 2010 and 2011.” Mahfood adds, “Winona is fortunate to have such breadth and depth of talent to offer the community. Because of the openness and accessibility of the location many folks show up as observers. These non-participants may be exposed to numerous new forms of artistic expression.”

The Blue Heron Committee, formed in 2006, began as an ad hoc group of artists and art supporters who wanted to initiate a public statue project in Winona. “From 2008 to 2011 Community Services and the Fine Arts Commission of the City of Winona contracted with the Blue Heron Committee to produce an annual Family Art Day each September,” states Mahfood. “The Blue Heron Committee has been at the core of

Minnesota River Arts Fair Combines Natural Beauty and History for Inspiration BY Tom Knisely, Media Relations Specialist, Three Rivers Park District More than 3,000 people paid a visit to The Landing – Minnesota River Heritage Park, in Shakopee, for the Minnesota River Arts Festival in July. This annual event is a partnership between The Landing, which is part of Three Rivers Park District, and the Savage Arts Council. Some 75 artists and juried fine art vendors participated in this special event.

at The Landing provided the inspiration. Plein air artist Greg Preslicka says the park is a special venue. “As a plein air painter, the Minnesota River Arts Fair is a great event because the venue is so unique. Plein air painting started in the mid-1800s so I, as an artist, really feel that connection to the roots of the craft painting in the 1880s village at The Landing.”

The Landing is a living history museum and home to the mythical river town of Eagle Creek. The natural beauty of the Minnesota River Valley and the historic buildings and costumed interpreters

Jefferson Spilman, supervisor of The Landing, credits the Park District’s partnership with the Savage Arts Council for the event’s success. “The arts council has deep roots in the arts community

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and connections to many wonderful and talented people. We have a very special park rich in cultural history and natural beauty. Bringing both elements together is what has made this event such a success,” Spilman explains.

Forecast Public Art and Public Art Review By Bethani Gerhard Minnesota Recreation and Park Association

Caponi Art Park

forming a regional arts organization called River Arts Alliance (RAA).” RAA is a networking organization of local and regional art organizations, artists and art supporters with Winona Community Foundation as fiscal sponsor. RAA will now organize and manage Family Art Day with Community Services, City of Winona as a partner.

Kids Art in the Park The City of Albert Lea hosts their annual Kids Art in the Park event every July. There are usually 40 to 90 people who attend this event, held at New Denmark Park in Albert Lea. “All that attend really seem to enjoy it,” says Jenny Davis, recreation coordinator for Albert Lea Parks and Recreation. “We provide entertainment and have either a ventriloquist, magician or a storyteller.” During the art event, kids can sign-up and participate in a sidewalk chalk mural contest with prize giveaways. The Albert Lea firemen then judge the local sidewalk chalk mural contest. “We also have different tables set up for arts and crafts, face painting, tie-dying and a wishing tree,” adds Davis. The wishing tree is a place where kids can jot down their wish and tie it on the tree branch. Wishes are kept up for about a week after the Kids Art in the Park event, depending on the weather. The next Kids Art in the Park event in Albert Lea will be held in July 2014.

Our Town Our Town is a biennial community arts program focusing on a different arts discipline each cycle in St. Louis Park. Photography and poetry have been featured in previous years. The theme being considered for the fourth Our Town community program, is Nature and Art. Our Town offers programming that reaches people in all corners of the community, free of charge. There is a juried art fair, open art exhibit, sketching workshops in nature, and other art and nature activities spanning from May to November 2014. The first annual Our Town community program was Faces and Places, which featured photography. The 2010 Our Town theme was Voices and Verses. In 2012, Our Town, Beats and Streets focused on poetry and had three goals: to celebrate the power of poetry in all its forms (written and spoken), to provide local poets with a place to showcase their work and to highlight the essential nature of poetry to bind us together as a community. St. Louis Park Friends of the Arts (FotA) is a non-profit community organization dedicated to supporting, promoting, and enhancing the arts in St. Louis Park. They connect people and organizations around the arts, share arts-related information and resources, and coordinate community arts programs. 

Located in Saint Paul, Forecast Public Art is a non-profit arts organization that connects the energies and talents of artists with the needs and opportunities of communities. Forecast is widely respected for its unique combination of consulting services, grant making and resources, including Public Art Review, the world’s leading public art journal. According to Jack Becker, executive director for Forecast Public Art and Public Art Review, “Public Art Review #45 (published in 2011) covers the theme of parks and recreation from all sides — exploring sculpture parks, artist residencies in national and state parks, the latest surge of projects at sports stadiums, international play spaces, and more.”

Articles include: • A piece by Carolyn Law and Matthew Stadler that shows how artists can play an important role in shaping how we experience our shared natural spaces; • Profiles of three public artists: Cathey Billian, Bill Wolff, and Chris Manzione, talking about the opportunities and challenges of their park residencies; • A process story detailing the collaboration between the Art Students League and the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation; and • Three pieces surveying the creative ideas present in noteworthy sculpture parks, stadiums, and play spaces around the world. To learn more and order your own copy, visit:

What are the best park policies addressing the arts in the United States? Becker recently conducted national research on best practices for establishing policies and procedures for public art in parks seeking greater involvement with the arts community. According to Becker, “I collected an impressive array of responses, from New York City to Seattle. I focused not on commissioning permanent works, but how parks create a welcoming, inviting climate that encourages local artists to use parkland for their creative projects. The responses were enlightening.” MRPA members seeking a copy of Becker’s survey data are invited to email him at

Fall 2013 • MINNESOTA Recreation and Parks 13



playground designs

BY KATIE KAVA, Landscape Structures

Playgrounds not only draw children and families, but also dog walkers, runners and bikers who need a rest, groups that want to meet outdoors to discuss issues of the day and folks who just want a spot to read and daydream. That’s why Landscape Structures, the Delano, Minn.-based commercial playground equipment manufacturer, has a team of designers, artists, sculptors and engineers that are dedicated to collaborating with clients to create signature gathering spaces for the entire community. Joanne R. Levin Triangle Park, which is located in the Kenwood neighborhood of Minneapolis, was recently updated using a thoughtful design process.

Neighbors of the park desired a low profile, unobtrusive playground that paid homage to the wooden playstructure that was previously installed there. To learn more about the space and community, the Landscape Structures design team took a field trip to the neighborhood. The park is located just a block off of Lake of the Isles and surrounded by big old-growth trees. In order to illustrate the client’s and neighbors’ vision for the playground, designers focused on using materials and colors to mimic the former playstructure while accenting the surrounding landscape. “Using our recycled wood grain planks, we imagined an undulating rib-

bon climber as the centerpiece of the playground,” said Tory Roff, custom concept designer for Landscape Structures. “From that piece, we integrated more traditional playground components like slides and climbers. The result was a less scripted, highly functional play experience for kids that blends into the fabric of their neighborhood.” “Our goal at Landscape Structures is to make playgrounds look artistic,” explained Peter “Gunnar” Gunnarson, concept designer at Landscape Structures. “Through artful collaboration with clients and our internal teams, we’re able to find balance between inspiration, design and functionality to make playground visions come to life.” Sibley Park

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While Levin Triangle used only minimal materials for its play space, Landscape Structures often takes a mixed media approach to playground design. Sibley Park in Mankato, which features a farmsteadthemed play space, is a great example of this method. Included in the playground design are farm animals sculpted from concrete, a tractor-themed playstructure and corn stalk climbers manufactured from steel, graphic signage and a barnthemed playstructure using recycled wood grain panels. “The one-of-a-kind manufacturing capabilities at Landscape Structures truly allow our art to speak through all of the materials used in our designs,” said Tory. “The mixed media approach provides a variance in sensory and play experiences for kids and allows us the flexibility to design what a community or landscape architect can imagine.” “Even more than the materials used in the design,” said Gunnar, “the play-

Joanne R. Levin Tirangle Park

ground tells a story in which kids can play. This playground has brought out the story of the community, and helped the City of Mankato create an iconic gathering space.”

Landscape Structures invites you to learn more about its design and manufacturing capabilities with a tour of its manufacturing facilities in Delano. Contact your local playground consultant at to schedule your visit.

Fall 2013 • MINNESOTA Recreation and Parks 15

Step up &

Make Music

By Bethani Gerhard | Minnesota Recreation and Park Association

Want to visit a unique, hands-on music park? Rotary Music Plaza, is just that. Generously donated by the Rotary Club of Maple Grove, the Music Plaza is an interactive music play area added to the beautiful Town Green. Rotary Music Park, located at 7991 Main Street, opened on June 13, 2013. Rotary members, city officials and community members gathered at the Music Plaza for an official ribbon-cutting ceremony. This unique series of instruments provides a playful component to the performance venue at the Town Green. “The layout of the park allows the tones of each instrument to complement each other,” says Michelle DeBace, program specialist for Maple Grove Parks and Recreation. “The plaza features six instruments designed by Freenotes Har-

mony Park that include: tuned drums, contra bass chimes, an imbarimba, a sunset yantzee, a swirl, and pagoda bells.” According to the Rotary of Maple Grove, Freenotes sound sculptures, as well as the stationary instruments, are tough enough to withstand Minnesota’s cold winters. Each instrument comes with two durable mallets attached to the instrument with stainless steel cables. DeBace adds, “These durable outdoor instruments produce quality sounds and don’t require any tuning.” The Rotary donated $51,000 in materials toward the construction of the Music Plaza and $5,000 to an escrow account for future maintenance, such as an instrument needing to be replaced. This dona-

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tion covered the total cost of the project including the labor, instruments, and pavers. Under the supervision of Maple Grove Parks and Recreation, the Rotary was responsible for coordination of the total project to completion. The Maple Grove Park Board now owns the Plaza and is responsible for future maintenance. “The Music Plaza is fully accessible allowing many people of all ages and abilities to create their own music while enjoying a day at the park. Not only is it fun to explore your own musical talents, it’s unique, something you don’t see regularly at other parks. Play them together or separately; there are no special skills needed to use these interactive instruments.”


History, Nature & the Arts By Bethani GerharD, Minnesota Recreation and Park Association

The Banfill-Locke Center for the Arts (BLCA) mixes art and history together. The Banfill-Locke House was built in 1847 and is recognized on the National Registry of Historic Sites. The Art Center has occupied the house since 1988. The Banfill-Locke Center provides opportunities in the arts for people of all ages. Classes range from writing, watercolor, collage, mosaics and much more. “There are course offerings to refine skills you already possess or learn something new,” states Bethany Whitehead, executive director of the BLCA. “Be sure to visit the beautiful exhibition that adorns our gallery walls.” The BLCA supports and encourages work of developing and established artists. The gallery shows an artist’s work for about six to eight weeks. There are also poetry readings that take place in the evenings once a month. Anoka County Parks and Recreation Department maintains the building and grounds. This public/private partnership supports accessible, quality arts for the community and recognizes the importance of art as a source for enrichment. As a way to showcase art in the community, the 15th Annual Art at Rice Creek was held on September 8, 2013. There were art vendors, performances by the Fridley City Band, Los Alegros Bailadores and the Chinese Dance Theatre, as well as free art demos and workshops. Classes held at the Art Center during the year have both member and non-member tuition rates. “Membership is the best way to get the most out of your creative pursuits and the best way to stay in touch with us,” says Whitehead. “Membership is also very affordable and a good value for your contribution.” The BLCA receives an allocation from the County, but are their own entity. “As a non-profit art center, we rely on support, whether it is through volunteering, purchasing from the shop, taking a class or giving a taxdeductible gift,” states Whitehead. The BLCA is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization and is supported mainly by grants and contributions. Tax-deductible contributions are gratefully received and help fund arts programs such as exhibitions, community events, artist and writer residencies and scholarships for youth. The Banfill-Locke Center is located in Anoka County’s award-winning Manomin Park at 6666 East River Road in Fridley. For more information visit

Fall 2013 • MINNESOTA Recreation and Parks 17


Expos Gaining Popularity By Bethani Gerhard Minnesota Recreation and Park Association

People who adore their pets seem to love pet expos. At some of the local expos, pet owners can attend with their animal. There is plenty of entertainment and visitors can gain more information on everything pet related. There might even be a few friendly pet competitions. St. Paul Parks and Recreation hosts their annual Bark and Rec Day on Harriet Island. The 2013 expo was held on Sunday, September 15 from 1 to 4 p.m. This free event was full of fun activities like face painting, paw stamping, caricatures, and a pet photo booth. A few other highlights were the Reading Education Assistance Dogs and the Minnesota Disc Dog Club, which provided an action packed demonstration again in 2013. The Canine Coach!, which provides dog obedience training and puppy kindergarten classes, had an agility course. Attendees watched some talented dogs in action and for a few dollars their dog was even able to give it a try. In addition there were vendors, various demonstrations, and an off-leash area for dogs. The City of Brooklyn Park holds their annual Dog Expo at Brookdale Dog Park. Their expo was held on September 14 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. This expo was free to the public. “Visitors met and spoke with veterinarians, dog groomers, trainers, pet rescues and were even able adopt a dog,” says Gina Gryniewski, recreation program supervisor with Brooklyn Park Recreation and Parks. “Demonstrations from the Brooklyn Park Canine Unit and the Hennepin County Sheriff’s K-9 unit took place.” Gryniewski adds that food trucks were on-site selling root beer floats, hot dogs, nachos and more. The City plans to do a dog expo annually. The City is always looking for fun vendors to participate in the annual dog expo.

18 MINNESOTA Recreation and Parks •

If you are looking for a large pet expo, the 2013 Midwest Family Pet Expo will be held on October 5 from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. and October 6 from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. at the National Sports Center in Blaine. Visitors will learn about pet care, training and many other topics. Again this year they will feature experts talking about a variety of pet related subjects. The 2013 Midwest Family Pet Expo will feature a variety of family entertainment and live demonstrations throughout the weekend including a pet costume contest, RAD Zoo and the Minnesota Companion Bird Association. The Midwest Family Pet Expo will feature vendors from around the Midwest giving visitors the opportunity to shop for everything from collars and treats for their furry friend, to home décor. Pets are allowed at this annual expo. The Plymouth Pet Expo will be held November 3 and 4, 2013 from 10 a.m.– 4 p.m. at the Plymouth Fieldhouse. Competitions including the Happy Hurdles Flyball Tournament and the Skyhoundz Disc Dogathon will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days; however, times are subject to change. If you attend the Plymouth Pet Expo, the cost is $3 per person; children 12 and younger are free. Proceeds benefit the Plymouth Dog Park, located at the south side of County Road 47 (between Lawndale and Dunkirk). Plymouth Dog Park contains a new fenced area for small dogs. As of 2010, it is not required for dogs to be licensed. The Plymouth Pet Expo has everything from exhibits on pet care, merchandise, events and activities for the entire family as well as demonstrations by the Plymouth K-9 Unit. Due to safety reasons, it is required that personal pets be left at home. For more information on the Plymouth Pet Expo, visit

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Fall 2013 • MINNESOTA Recreation and Parks 19

s k r a P g Do We tend to assume that off-leash parks are primarily for the dog’s benefit, but experienced dog park users know better. Off-leash parks offer just as many benefits to pet owners and the wider community, as they do to dogs.

City of Eagan

Open for dog owners and their dogs in the summer of 2012, a unique off-leash dog area was created at the City of Eagan’s Thresher Fields Park. The off-leash area includes rugged trails, a lakeshore with gated access to the water, and an area set aside for small dogs. It is open year-round, with water and restrooms available during the warmer months. “The entire area is fenced including the lakeshore with a gated access to the lake,” says Amy Grannes, office supervisor for the City of Eagan. “Varied terrain and wooded areas mean that owners wishing to maintain visual contact with their dogs

Important for Dogs and Owners Alike

must be able to hike and follow their pets down a steep hill and into the woods.” Also, dogs must have annual permits and a color-coded collar to enter the park. Permits purchased in 2013 cost $20 for the first dog and $15 for additional dogs for Eagan residents. For non-residents, it’s $40 and $35. The permits are valid through December 31, 2013, because of the midyear opening.

City of Faribault

White Sands Dog Park, located in Faribault, is a plot of land that is built from an abandoned outdoor swimming pool. In the past, it was the largest outdoor pool in the entire state. “The original impetus for creating the dog park came from a group of volunteers, now known as the White Sands Dog Park Committee,” says Jeff Jarvis, enrichment and communications manager for Faribault Parks and Rec-

20 MINNESOTA Recreation and Parks •

By Bethani Gerhard Minnesota Recreation and Park Association

reation. “They came to Faribault Parks and Recreation for help, and we guided them in the process of site selection.” Of all the sites, the committee selected the former White Sands Pool area since it had fencing, sand, a wooded area and a large pool. Jarvis adds that another attractive amenity already there was the White Sands Trailhead facility, a park and ride for Sakatah State Trail users. This provides bathrooms year-round for dog park users as well. “With a lot of volunteer TLC and help from the parks maintenance crew, the dog park has been in operation for several years,” says Jarvis. “The park is self-policed by the folks that use it.” Maintenance is handled under the Faribault Parks and Recreation Department. Proceeds from fundraisers have helped purchase benches and tables, and PetSmart donated funds for a shelter that was recently constructed at the dog park.

These two parks are two of the most heavily used parks in Rochester. “We are in the process of planning a third dog park in the middle of town for 2014,” says Morton. “The new park will start off with basic fencing accessing two distinct play areas.” While Morton was taking a picture of the dog park a visitor said, “The users of the dog park are what really make the parks so special.” Morton says that was good to hear and he agrees. He adds, “It is the users taking ownership of the park and working together that make it a successful and enjoyable place to bring your dogs.”

Ramsey County Parks

Ramsey County Parks and Recreation operates four off-leash areas: Battle Creek Regional Park in Maplewood, Bald Eagle-Otter Lakes Regional Park in White Bear Township, Rice Creek Regional Trail Corridor in Shoreview and Woodview Open Space in Roseville. “Six retired fire hydrants were planted in the ground around the pool, since dogs love fire hydrants,” adds Jarvis. “A beautiful water fountain was installed in the pool last year that aerates the water year-round. Power was installed to have the park lit for night use. Running water was brought in to rinse dogs off after rolling around in the mud.” For more information and photos, visit White Sands Dog Park’s Facebook page at: g roups /15 4 4703145 8 4194 /? f ref = t s

City of Rochester

The dog parks in Rochester were made possible by a generous donation from the Jean and Carl Frank Estate. “The City of Rochester provided the land and their donation covered all the expenses to build two dog parks, Jean & Carl Frank South Canine Park and Jean & Carl Frank North Canine Park,” states Jeff Morton, park planner for Rochester Park and Recreation. “Each park cost $50,000 to develop which included: grading the site, seeding, constructing a parking lot and driveway, bringing in a water service, security lighting, signage, agility play elements (south dog park only) and fencing.”

The Battle Creek dog park site is the largest with 35 acres and is located in the Lower Afton area of Battle Creek Regional Park and has two access parking lots. The Otter Lake and Woodview sites are both entirely fenced. They both have designated small dog hours, for dogs 35 pounds and under, during certain times and days of the week. Ramsey County utilizes volunteers to be their point persons, acting as the communication link between the park users and the parks and recreation department. The primary responsibilities of the dog park guardians are to help identify maintenance issues within the park and to act as spokespersons for park users, bringing issues to the attention of the parks recreation department to be resolved or suggestions for site improvements. The goal of the dog park guardian program is to improve communication and expectations between users of our dog parks and the maintenance and operations division. If you would like more information about the Dog Park Guardian Program, please contact

From One Dog Park User to Another Comments Gathered From MSP Airport Dog Park Users

Tips for Dog Park Users: ✤✤Bring

water for your dog


baggies and more than one

✤✤Pick ✤✤If

up your dog’s poop

you see my dog pooping and I miss

it, tell me and be OK when I point it out to you. ✤✤Watch

your dog – you never

know how they will interact with another dog ✤✤Know ✤✤Get ✤✤If

your dog’s social skills

to know the dog owners

your dog is sick, leave him home

What’s Essential at a Dog Park: ✤✤Grass ✤✤Open



What’s Nice to Have at a Dog Park: ✤✤Water

for drinking


for dogs to run in

✤✤Woods ✤✤Trash




Why Do You Come to the Dog Park: ✤✤I

have met some great friends here,

my dog has her dog friends too ✤✤My

dog gets better exercise

Fall 2013 • MINNESOTA Recreation and Parks 21

Fun with Fido BY Tom Knisely Media Relations Specialist, Three Rivers Park District

You’re not the only one who needs to get off the couch. If your pooch is packing on the pounds it’s time for you and Fido to get out and get active at a dog park near you. And if you decide to visit an “off-leash” area you won’t be alone. Parks where canines can run free and recreate with their masters are growing in popularity. Three Rivers Park District now operates eight off-leash areas across the metro. In 2007, 113,000 guests visited Three Rivers off-leash areas. In 2012

that number rose to 260,000. That’s an increase of 130% in just five years. So why are off-leash areas so popular? “People love their dogs and they love to get out and enjoy parks. Off-leash areas combine both loves,” explained Linda Seaton, director of facility services for Three Rivers Park District.” Freedom and space are other important factors. “We allow dogs on designated hiking and walking trails but they must be leashed at all times on

22 MINNESOTA Recreation and Parks •

a six-foot non-retractable leash. The off-leash areas allow dogs and owners the freedom to roam, to run, to play fetch,“ Seaton added. Larger than your typical manicured city dog park, these off-leash areas give guests a more open wild feel. Three Rivers offleash areas cover a total of 180 acres. The largest is 40 acres at Crow-Hassan Park Reserve. Most off-leash areas have water available and where water hookups are not possible the Park District has begun installing solar wells.

Visit any off-leash area and you see how much the dogs like to romp and play with other dogs. It’s a great way for your pet to socialize and burn up that energy that makes them stir-crazy indoors. Just be sure to have your dog in sight and under verbal control at all times. If yours is a smaller dog, that’s intimidated by larger rambunctious dogs they can still enjoy a worry-free visit to the park. Some offleash areas have special fenced-off sections for small or frail dogs. User fees offset the cost of constructing and maintaining these popular amenities. Daily passes to the off-leash areas are $5 and can be paid at onsite drop boxes. The off-leash area at Spring Lake Regional Park in Scott County even has an automated pay station that takes credit cards. Season passes are $35 and can be purchased online at

Photos courtesy of Derek J. Dickinson, Three Rivers Park District.

So, if you’re an apartment or condo dweller with no back yard, or if your back yard isn’t big enough for Rover to run and play — ther e’s no problem. Three Rivers has a “back yard” for you and your hound.

Celebrating 75 Years

This photo was taken at the first Industrial State Tournament held in St. Louis Park, Minnesota in 1964. Ron Hurst (on the right) was the softball commissioner and the Minnesota Recreation Association (MRA) athletic director, currently Minnesota Recreation and Park Association (MRPA). Bob Kojetin (on the left) was the MRA assistant athletic director. Kojetin became the softball commissioner and MRPA athletic director from 1965 through 1975. Recently, he has been instrumental in helping to organize the MRPA historic documents and photographs. The current softball state director is Gerry Turnberg, who was hired as the MRPA program director 25 years ago.

Fall 2013 • MINNESOTA Recreation and Parks 23

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Minnesota Recreation & Parks magazine Fall 2013  

Official magazine of Minnesota Recreation and Park Association (MRPA), Fall 2013 issue