General Project Overview

Project Description: Rice Park is a significant public space in Saint Paul located on the block bounded by Washington Street, 5th Street, 4th Street, and Market Street. The park is 1.6 acres. In 2014, the Saint Paul Garden Club raised funds to address the need for improvements to Rice Park.  The City developed a concept plan for phased improvements to the park. Successful private fundraising with the help of the Saint Paul Parks Conservancy, Rice Park Association and Saint Paul Garden Club, and public funds are supporting this project as it moves towards construction in the spring of 2018.   

Project Background: Rice Park is a beloved public space at the heart of downtown Saint Paul. Rice Park was dedicated as Saint Paul’s first public space when it was given to the city in 1849. Since then, it has experienced many transformations and renovations as a popular green space in an urban area. It is a well-used urban park that serves many individuals and hosts numerous events including the Winter Carnival, Flint Hills Children Festival, the Ordway’s Summer Dance, and many more.

Project Updates:


 May 24, 2019- Rice Park is open to the public!
A GRAND OPENING CELEBRATION for the Rice Park Revitalization Project is scheduled for June 11, 2019. 4-6pm.



May 16, 2019- Construction is wrapping up and final details of the park construction are near completion.  We are approaching substantial completion and anticipate late May for reopening the park to the public.
March 28, 2019- Construction will begin again starting April 1 to complete the final items for the project; Market Street parking meters and portions of the sidewalk will be closed until project completion.  The project is expected to be complete in late May, 2019.
October 26, 2018- The concrete walks will be 90% complete by November 2.  The statue of Peppermint Patty has been relocated in the park on the 4th Street side of the park.  Sod was delayed due to an adjustment with the south planter wall.  The bus stop at 5th Street and Market is scheduled to reopen on Nov 1.
September 19, 2018- The curbing around the center circle and garden beds are formed and will be poured by the middle of next week. Contractors measure rainfall daily to make sure the trees on site are getting adequate water. Supplemental water is occurring during dry weeks.  Sidewalks will be installed within the next three weeks.
September 5, 2018- North seat walls (along 5th Street) will be poured this week. The center paved area will be graded in. 
August 22, 2018- Construction is well underway at 40% completion. Most of the underground utilities, the stormwater storage area in the south lawn, and drain tile are in place.  The south lawn will be sodded in approximately 5 weeks.  Wall construction has begun, though finishing and caps on the seat walls will not be completed for a few weeks.  The project is on track for completion in 2018.
May 17, 2018- 10am Ground-breaking Ceremony
The park will be closed May 14, 2018 -late May, 2019. Construction Fence will be installed May 22, 2018 and remain for the duration of construction (until late May, 2019)- the fence will be removed when the project has reached substantial completion.
January 3, 2018 - Tree removal will begin in Rice Park as part of the Rice Park Revitalization Project. Trees are being removed due to disease, safety, and for improved design. New tree plantings will being in summer 2018.
September 29, 2017 - Plants will be removed and transplanted to other St Paul Park sites in preparation for construction next spring

Construction Poster
Concept Plan and Graphics

June - August 2017: Design Development
September-December: Construction Documents
January- February:  2018: Advertise and Bid Project
April 2018: Construction to begin

Past Meetings:

Design Advisory Committee Meetings:
Meeting #1: November 19, 2014
Presentation - Meeting #1
Survey Results
Meeting Minutes

Meeting #2: January 21, 2015 6pm-8pm Landmark Center
Presentation - Meeting #2
Presentation - Precedent Projects
Meeting #2 Minutes

Meeting #3: March 3, 2015 3pm-5pm - Landmark Center Room
Presentation - Meeting #3
Concept Plan
Meeting Minutes

Public Open House - April 8, 2015 5-7pm - Landmark Center

Project Resources:
St. Paul Historic Context Studies: Downtown Saint Paul, 1849-1975

Rice Park Historic District - Historic Designation Form [Draft]

Project Information

Design Advisory Committee Members:

  • Betsy Kelly, St Paul Garden Club
  • Colleen Fitzpatrick, St Paul Garden Club
  • Amy Mino, Landmark Center
  • Pat Steineman, St Paul Hotel
  • Nancy Huart, Travellers
  • Greg Fouks, JJ Hill Library
  • David Lilly, Ordway
  • Kathy Ross/Tim Wolfgram, Xcel Energy
  • Andrea McKennan, George Latimer Central Library
  • Dave Haley, Ramsey County
  • Ruth Huss, Resident
  • Tim Griffin, Capitol River Council Representative

Participating Staff Members:

  • Amy Spong, City of Saint Paul, HPC
  • Karin Misiewicz, City of Saint Paul Parks and Recreation Operations

Last Edited: March 23, 2022