Lilydale Park Pavilion Takes Shape

Construction is coming along quickly on the pavilion and restrooms at Pickerel Lake. This will complete the items identified in the Master Plan for Lilydale Regional Park.

A Ten-Year Transformation

Just over 10 years ago the St. Paul Parks Conservancy got its start raising funds to help realize the vision of the Lilydale Park Master Plan. Since then, the 384-acre Park has undergone a remarkable transformation, with millions of dollars of public and private investment.

The updated Master Plan for the park was approved by the City Council in 2009 and the Metropolitan Council in 2010. The planning process took place over two years and included input from a citizens advisory task force that included representatives from Friends of Lilydale, Friends of the Mississippi, Friends of Ramsey County Parks and Trails, West Side Citizens Organization, Riverfront Corporation, St. Paul Public Works, Parks and Recreation, the DNR, the National Park Service, and citizens at large.

The Conservancy got involved in early 2010 and raised nearly a half million dollars from numerous donors, including lead gifts from the Scrooby Foundation and Huss Family Foundation. “This was the Conservancy’s first project,” said board President Garth Morrisette. “The sheer scale of the project demonstrated the need for private funding to augment public investment.” In total, the City of Saint Paul has invested just under $11.3 million in Lilydale since 2010, which includes the environmental remediation of the old Marina Dump Site and reconstruction of 2,800 linear feet of roadway along with buried overhead electric lines.

The Conservancy’s efforts funded The Gateway and the cascading stream Bluff Water Feature, helping transform a good park into a great park.

As we celebrate this transformation, we would be remiss if we did not acknowledge the tragic landslide deaths of two St. Louis Park’s Peter Hobart Elementary School students, Haysem Sani, 9, and Zack Mohamed Fofana, 10, on May 23, 2013. This heartbreaking tragedy has led to numerous safety improvements in the park, especially on bluff trails. The park itself is a living monument to the memory of these two beautiful souls – a reminder to enjoy each day.