The City of Saint Paul completed a master plan for Phalen Park in 1975 and Ramsey County completed a master plan for Keller Park in 1977. In 1978, these agencies completed a joint master plan for the Phalen - Keller Regional Park, as shown in Figures A and B. An update to the Phalen - Keller Regional Park Master Plan was completed in 2011 as a response to the many changes and demands for parks and recreational opportunities that have occurred since that time.
This project includes two parts: the design of a brand new trailhead facility on the east side of Lake Phalen and redesign of the existing Phalen Picnic Pavilion on the west side of the lake. Parks and Recreation issued a Request for Proposals for design of these facilities in November 2021, and following evaluation of nine proposals received, partnered with Snow Kreilich Architects for the project design.
We would love to hear from you, please consider completing this 4-question survey about Phalen Regional Park and the Trailhead and Pavilion projects.
Design and planning began in February 2022, and the team held a pop-up community event on the walking trails near the picnic pavilion on March 15, 2022 from 3:30-5:30pm. Please click hereto review the pop-up meeting materials.
This portion of the project will design and construct a combined trailhead and restroom facility at the connection of Phalen Regional Park and the Bruce Vento Regional Trail. It will include two gender-neutral restrooms and improve the surrounding landscape. Construction is planned for 2022.
Design will include a re-visioning of the existing pavilion. Although today it's a popular place for events and gathering, future functional and aesthetic improvements will aim to better serve the park and the community.
About Phalen Regional Park Multimodal Transportation Improvements
The City of Saint Paul Department of Parks and Recreation has secured funding for a multimodal transportation study at Phalen Regional Park. This study will help guide development of pedestrian, bicycle, and automobile infrastructure in Phalen Regional Park.
November 15, 2021
Construction of the transportation improvements at the north end of Lake Phalen including the new boat launch are complete.
August 11, 2021
Construction of the improvements is nearly complete. Restoration of the site including turf seeding will take place in the next couple weeks. Thank you for your patience during construction of these important park improvements. We hope you enjoy the improvements!
June 28, 2021
Construction is scheduled to begin July 6th at the north end of Lake Phalen. Access to the parking lots and boat launch will be closed, but pedestrian and bicycle access around the lake will be maintained during construction. Construction will be complete in early September.
June 15, 2021
Construction of the Phase II improvements will begin in a few weeks. These improvements will include reconstruction of the parking lot at the north end of Lake Phalen. The boat launch will be removed from it's current location and relocated to the very north end of the lake. During construction, the boat launch will be closed.
May 6, 2020
On Monday May 11th, our contractor will be performing the final milling in the parking lots. The Beach, Lakeside Center, Picnic Pavilion, and South parking lots will be closed so they can mill and patch. Once the lots have been milled, the lots will open up for use until they place the bituminous wear course (possibly next week). We anticipate being complete in a couple weeks.
March 31, 2020
Construction has resumed at Phalen Regional Park. Construction of all types is included in the Critical Sector exemption of Gov. Walz's COVID-19 Stay-at-home executive order. Our contractor is currently working in the Beach Parking lot area this week to prepare for paving of trails. Some revisions to the pedestrian route will be made so that pedestrians and bicyclists can safely use the trails during construction. On approximately April 8th, they will shift their operations to the south parking lot to perform the improvements there. Utility work at the entrance to the parking lot will require temporary traffic control on East Shore Drive.
The contractor anticipates being complete with their work at the park in early May.
September 24, 2019
Construction is progressing as scheduled with the majority of the work completed at the Picnic Pavilion parking area. Parking in this lot is available in the evenings and on weekends. The contractor is focusing on the improvements at the Beach Parking lot right now. A pedestrian and bike trail detour has been provided around the construction activity at the beach parking lot. Parking is not allowed in the Beach parking lot, but is still available in the Lakeside Activity Center parking lot.
August 15, 2019
A construction contract has been awarded and construction is scheduled to begin August 19, 2019. The contractor plans to begin with the construction of dumpster enclosures at the Picnic Pavilion, Lakeside Activity Center, and Beach House, as well as, the parking lot improvements at the Picnic Pavilion.
January 25, 2018
The Phalen Regional Park Transportation Study is complete. The final report is available at the following links:
Final Study (large file - may take a moment to download)
Appendix A - Parking Demand by Time of Day
Appendix B - Survey Results
Appendix C - Cost Estimates
We currently have funding to implement Phase I of the plan which will include the parking lots at the Beach House, Lakeside Center, and Picnic Pavilion. These three areas encompass the busiest part of the park. As future funding is secured, we’ll implement improvements at the other areas of the park.
November 27, 2017
Thank you to those that attended the Open House on Thursday November 16th. The following links are to the materials presented at the Open House.
Phalen Transportation Overview.pdf (514.68 KB)
Phalen Transportation Concepts.pdf (6.96 MB)
We will review and integrate feedback from the Open House into the plans. A draft transportation plan will be prepared in December with a final transportation plan report completed in January.
November 2, 2017
An OPEN HOUSE has been scheduled for Thursday, November 16 from 4:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. held at the Phalen Regional Park Golf Course Clubhouse. Presentation boards will display project goals, traffic and parking data, park user feedback, and concept plans for various focus areas in the park. Project staff and consultants will be on hand to answer questions and gather feedback from attendees. No formal presentation is planned.
Thursday, November 16, 2017
4:30 - 6:30 p.m.
Phalen Regional Park Golf Course Clubhouse
September 21, 2017
Thank you to those that participated in the text survey and on-site pop up meetings. Your input is valuable to the development of this plan! We are currently developing concepts for a number of focus areas around the park and will be refined for presentation and discussion at a November Open House. The focus areas include: Arcade Street park entrance, Picnic Island parking, Boat Ramp and Fishing Pier, Picnic Pavilion, Lakeside Center, Beach house area East Shore Drive parking area at the south end of the lake.
August 29, 2017
***The text survey has ended. Thank you to those that participated in the text survey
We Want Your Opinion! Your opinion will help guide transportation improvements throughout Phalen Regional Park
Peb xav paub koj xav li cas! Phalen Regional Park Multi-Modal Transportation Study sau ntawv hauv xovtooj
We will be holding pop up meetings at the park in the next two weeks
An open house will be scheduled in November. A date/time and location is yet to be determined.
The following is a tentative schedule for the Phalen Regional Park Multimodal Transportation Project:
- July/August: Inventory/Data collection/Analysis/Community Engagement
- August/September: Schematic Design/Community Engagement
- October: Refine concepts and prepare cost estimates
- November: Open House and Draft plan
- December: Final Plan
About Phalen Regional Park China Garden
The Minnesota China Friendship Garden Society, working with the Saint Paul Parks & Recreation Department and two Changsha architects, is pleased to announce the conceptual plans for a Changsha-style China Garden at Phalen Park. The sister-city project between Saint Paul and Changsha in Hunan Province is a relationship that began in 1988 and will be the first Changsha-style garden in the U.S.
Design features include an open-air pavilion and stone garden, a Hmong Cultural Plaza, a lakeside pavilion with a waterside patio and veranda, an entrance arch, and an arched bridge. The main pavilion will be in a Changsha-style architecture and modeled after the famous Aiwan pavilion in Changsha. A stone garden will lead from this pavilion to the water channel and use Minnesota stone. The Hmong Cultural Plaza is an important element in the China Garden because Minnesota Hmongs claim Changsha as their ancestral home, and a large Hmong community live in the Phalen Park area. Hmong cultural symbols and historical information will be included in the Plaza.
The China Garden will be built at a site north of the Phalen Park picnic pavilion and water channel and east of the Stone Arch Bridge along Lake Phalen. It will complement Public Art St. Paul’s “Minnesota Rocks!” symposium sculpture “Meditation,” already at Phalen Park that was created by internationally known Changsha sculptor Master Lei Yixin, who introduced the two architects to the China Garden Society. Master Lei was the sculptor of the Martin Luther King Jr. Stone of Hope Memorial in Washington, D.C.
Garden designs will integrate nature and culture; expand cultural understanding; demonstrate the aesthetics of Chinese art, landscape design, and architecture; foster further sister-city activities and trade; and create a sense of community as a place for celebrating life events, recreation, and meditation.
Parks and Recreation is beginning the next Phase of the China Garden including construction the Hmong Plaza, and design of the Pavilion Landscape, Donor Wall and Moon Gate. Please contact email@example.com if you'd like to be involved on the Design Advisory Committee.
June 15, 2023 Hmong Plaza Construction
The contractor has nearly completed the concrete wall. The next step is to backfill the soil and begin the plaza concrete.June 15 Construction Images (10.73 MB)
May 2023 Hmong Plaza Construction Begins
Bidding is complete for the Hmong Plaza Construction and the project has been awarded to Urban Companies, LLC. Construction is anticipated to begin the week of May 22nd and with substantial completion in July 2023. Pedestrian access will be restricted north across the channel bridge during construction. The pavilion will remain open and access will be limited to the east side (lakeside) only.HmongPlaza_ConstructionPoster (1.7 MB)
May 2023: Excavation
June 2023: Concrete Wall & Plaza
July 2023: Substantial Completion
Fall 2023: Plantings & Utilities
Fall 2023: Hmong Art Feature Design (additional community engagement)
Spring-Fall 2024: Fabricate/Install Hmong Art Features
January 7, 2023 Hmong Plaza Community Design Open House
Saturday 10-1pm - Hmong Village (brief presentation at 10:30 Room A18-1)
Attendees viewed the Hmong Plaza design, share feedback and ask questions of the project team. The event will mark the conclusion of the schematic design project phase and celebrate the future plaza construction. A Hmong interpreter will be available during the event.
Nov 22, 2022 Design Advisory Committee Meeting #8 - 6:30-8:00pm
This is the eighth meeting (in-person) to review the Hmong Plaza design developed by a subcommittee made up of cultural experts, design professionals, and artists. The next phase includes construction documents and bidding for construction in spring 2023. Final design features and construction scope will be determined by fabrication methods and bids.
- DAC #8 Meeting Recording
- Phalen China Garden DAC #8 Presentation (7.66 MB)
- Phalen China Garden DAC #8 Meeting Notes (210.83 KB)
- Phalen China Garden Advisoy Committee List (161.69 KB)
June 13, 2022 Design Advisory Committee Meeting #7 - 6:30-8:00pm - Phalen Picnic Pavilion
This is the seventh meeting (in-person) to review the Hmong Plaza size. The project team presented a 2,400 square foot Hmong plaza with a 1,600 SF grass overflow space which is a compromise. The next step is to begin design of the Hmong plaza including cultural patterns and elements.
March 17, 2022 Design Advisory Committee Meeting #6 - 6:30-8:00pm
This is the sixth virtual meeting to review the Hmong Plaza size. The DAC supported a 2,800 square foot plaza with a grass overflow space. The plaza will hold approximately 150-175 people with the grass overflow space accommodating larger groups.
Jan 18, 2022 Design Advisory Committee Meeting #5 - 6:30-8:00pm
This is the fifth virtual meeting to review the updated layout of the Donor Wall, Moon Gate, and Moon Bridge based upon previous meeting comments.
Jan 11, 2022 Design Advisory Committee Meeting #4 - 6:30-8:00pm
This is the fourth virtual meeting to review the updated layout of the Hmong Plaza based upon previous meeting comments. No decision was made about the plaza size or location. The City will reach out to design consultants and host a future meeting regarding the Hmong Plaza.
Nov 17, 2021 Design Advisory Committee Meeting #3 - 6:30-8:00pm
This was the third virtual meeting to develop the project program for the Donor Wall and Moon Bridge.
Nov 10, 2021 Design Advisory Committee Meeting #2
This was the second virtual meeting for the Design Advisory Committee to develop the project program and location for the Hmong Plaza. No decision was made about the plaza size or location. The City will reach out to design consultants and host a future meeting regarding the Hmong Plaza.
October 18, 2021 Design Advisory Committee Meeting #1
This was the first virtual meeting for Phase II of the St Paul Changsha China Garden to develop a design for the garden expansion.
- DAC Meeting #1 Presentation (15.61 MB)
- Introduction to Chinese Gardens (6.49 MB)
- Phase II Design Advisory Committee List (144.64 KB)
September 18, 2021 - Site Dedication
- Phase II Site Dedication Photo Collage (5.98 MB)
August 31, 2021 - Art Stone Installation
- Feng Shui Blessing Photo Collage (13.06 MB)
- A Visual Journey 9 Art Stones (5.43 MB)
- Educational Material 9 Art Stones (1.99 MB)
- Hmong Dialects at the China Friendship Garden (466.48 KB)
The Western Archway is now complete.
- Phalen China Garden Western Archway (898.17 KB)
The Hmong Heritage Wall and Xiang Jiang Pavilion are now complete. The parking lot nearest the China Garden will be closed during winter 2018-19. To view the Hmong Heritage Wall and Xiang Jiang Pavilion during winter, please park at the golf course or picnic pavilion parking lots.
June 14, 2018
Construction of the Hmong Heritage Wall and foundation for the Xiang Jiang Pavilion foundation is ahead of schedule. The first excavation for the Hmong Heritage Wall revealed better soils than anticipated. The sandy soil is perfect for the foundations and easily drained any rain that fell the past week. The concrete wall for the Hmong Heritage Wall is complete and backfilled. The following links show the progress.
- Foundation Ready to pour
- Forming the wall
- Completed Wall
- Wall backfilled and site ready for the pavilion foundation
The Xiang Jiang Pavilion foundation is being formed today and will be poured tomorrow, Friday June 15th.
The containers with the Xiang Jiang Pavilion, West Entrance Gate, and Hmong Heritage Wall were loaded onto a ship earlier this week and departed the port in Shanghai at 8:45 am CDT yesterday morning. It is expected to arrive in Vancouver on Wednesday June 27th.
June 1, 2018
Construction for the foundation of the Xiang Jiang Pavilion, Hmong Heritage Wall, and West Entrance Gate began on Thursday May 31st. The excavation for the Hmong Heritage Wall is the first item being completed followed be the concrete pour the week of June 4th. A progress photo can be seen here: Photo
This past winter, the health of one of the existing pine trees behind the building site for the Xiang Jiang Pavilion significantly declined and died. See attached photo. Even though none of the existing trees were to be impacted by the development of the garden, it was determined it was best to remove this tree before construction of the pavilion began so the tree didn't become a liability later on. Additionally, a large branch broke out of an oak tree just west of the construction site. Upon inspection, the loss of the limb and internal hollowing, has left the tree as a safety hazard in the park and will be removed.
April 26, 2018
Fabrication of the Xiang Jiang Pavilion has begun in Changsha, China. Once the pavilion is constructed, it will be carefully disassembled, packaged, and shipped to the US with an arrival in St. Paul in late June. Chinese artisans are being sent to direct the assembly of the pavilion which will begin on July 9th.
Photos of the progress will be posted soon.
Parks and Recreation has just received a Neighborhood STAR (Sales Tax Revitalization) grant for the project. We are currently awarding a contract to a geotechnical engineer to perform soil borings and provide a geotechnical report. This information will be used for the design of future site elements. The engineer will be on site in the next few weeks to perform their work.
The MN China Garden Friendship Society is still actively fundraising for the project.
In January 2016, husband and wife architect team Jennifer Junfang Fan and Jon Youhua Wen, from Changsha, and Alice Messer, senior landscape architect at the Saint Paul Parks & Recreation Department, completed the conceptual design for the Phalen Regional Park China Garden.
The Phalen Regional Park China Garden conceptual designs are preliminary, and the China Garden Society and St. Paul’s District 5 Planning Council will be seeking community input in March. This garden will be built in phases with Parks & Recreation creating the phase budgets. Construction will begin in 2016.
In 2015 a bill sponsored by House representative Tim Mahoney and senator Foung Hawj provided $50,000 Legacy Funds for the China Garden conceptual designs.
In October 2015, four members of the China Garden Society traveled to Changsha with St. Paul mayor Chris Coleman’s eight-member delegation to conduct research on Changsha garden architecture, tour several famous gardens, meet with Changsha architects, and learn more about Hmong culture in Changsha. A sister-city park agreement was signed between Phalen Regional Park and Yanghu Wetlands Park in Changsha at that time.
The conceptual design process began with a District 5 Planning Council community meeting in November 2014 to gather community input.
In 2011, the City of St. Paul, Ramsey County, and the Metropolitan Council approved the China Garden as part of the Phalen-Keller Regional Park Master Plan.
Donations are needed to help build the Phalen Regional Park China Garden. Call Mealey-Lohmann at 612-791-2218 or donate online at www.MnChinaGarden.org.
Last Edited: June 15, 2023