The Toro Urban Park Innovation Award, sponsored by The Toro Company, recognizes innovation in park management and practices, and is presented in conjunction with City Parks Alliance and the Greater & Greener 2017 international urban parks conference, which will take place July 29–August 2 in Minneapolis and St. Paul.
Parque Castillo in St. Paul, and Bossen Field Park in Minneapolis, were chosen for the important roles they play in bringing their communities together through recreation and arts integration, and for their ability to demonstrate excellence in park design and programming – both locally and nationally. The funds from the Toro Urban Park Innovation Award will support specific projects that will enhance larger park renovations already underway.
“Parque Castillo and Bossen Field Park are excellent examples of how park leaders can design and program parks to meet the needs of today’s urban communities through the arts and recreation,” said City Parks Alliance Executive Director Catherine Nagel. “Greater & Greener is designed to have a positive impact on the host cities by featuring local examples through sessions, tour and mobile workshops. The Toro Urban Park Innovation Award will help ensure that the communities near Parque Castillo and Bossen Field Park enjoy a lasting, tangible impact from Greater & Greener through improved local parks.”
Parque Castillo has recently been redesigned to make it more appealing to the neighborhood, as the heart of the community. New amenities like a festival lawn and circular walk, refurbished play area and interactive water feature, have been chosen by the community and will be constructed in the 2017. The Toro Urban Park Innovation Award will support perimeter seating around the circular lawn that serves as a canvas for Craig David, a local artist. The importance of the seating is that it shares the stories of the community and embeds the cultural context and history of the park into its features. The murals will convey the significance of Nicolas Castillo, a community activist and namesake of the park, as well as other community members and events that have shaped the neighborhood.
“The Toro Company is proud to be a part of the largest international gathering of urban park leaders to Minneapolis and St. Paul later this year. Through the establishment of this award, we recognize the importance of parks in our communities and how innovation can revolutionize the park experience and bring diverse communities together,” said Rick Olson, president and CEO of The Toro Company.
Bossen Field Park is located in a culturally diverse neighborhood within Minneapolis. Community outreach led by the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) during the planning process suggested that many local needs were not currently being well served at Bossen Field, and that a multi-use flexible field was a priority for the community. The MPRB also recognized that the neighborhood has no other reasonably proximate parks available while the work proceeds at Bossen Field Park. In response, a multi-use field is being constructed as the first step in a larger renovation project. This field, supported by the Toro Urban Park Innovation Award, will be sodded and irrigated rather than seeded to provide a more immediate place for local residents to use.
Greater & Greener 2017 is presented by City Parks Alliance in partnership with St. Paul Parks and Recreation and Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board. The five-day indoor and outdoor conference will convene park leaders, city planners, design professionals, and urban park advocates in St. Paul and Minneapolis. The Twin Cities provides excellent examples of how cities are leveraging the power of parks to support their infrastructure, economies and the health of their citizens. The 80 sessions and 100 speakers will focus on four tracks; Youth Development, Planning Healthy Systems, the Creative Culture of Parks, and City Park Essentials. An International Forum on August 2, hosted by Toro, will focus on global trends and approaches that cities around the world are taking to leverage the power of parks and green space.
St. Paul and Minneapolis are frequently regarded as two of America’s “greenest” cities, with two of the oldest, largest and most recognized park and recreation systems in the nation. Anchored by the iconic Mississippi River, the Twin Cities offers almost 350 parks and open spaces for experiential learning.
For Greater & Greener registration and program information, visit greatergreener.org, and for conference updates, connect with City Parks Alliance on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, using the hashtag #greatergreener and follow progress on the Toro Urban Park Innovation Award with #ToroGives.
Greater & Greener conference support is provided by The Speedwell Foundation, Landscape Structures, Inc., The Toro Company, Hyde Family Foundations, Knight Foundation, Minnesota Twins, REI, TD Bank, AECOM, Central Park Conservancy, Creative Water Solutions, Greenway Foundation/Colorado Parks Foundation, J.M. Kaplan Fund, Loppet Foundation, Minneapolis Parks Foundation, Saint Luke’s Foundation, The Trust for Public Land, and Visit Saint Paul among others.