A linking greenway connecting the Big Rivers Regional Trail and Mississippi River Regional Trail was hindered by a one-mile missing segment. The connection was historically controversial due to potential impacts to Dodge Nature Center, an environmental education and habitat restoration organization located on 462 acres.
Innovative stakeholder engagement techniques were used to capture and illustrate stakeholder concerns. A GPS application on an iPhone was used to capture feedback real-time during field walks, identifying both areas of concern and potential greenway locations. Audience polling used during stakeholder meetings determined public concerns. Often minor changes could gain support for an alignment. The unique approach was tailored to best resolve the specific problem as it presented itself. Through this process, Bolton & Menk successfully identified and designed a recommended trail alignment supported by Dakota County, Dodge Nature Center, Henry Sibley High School, and the Cities of Mendota Heights and West St. Paul.
The River to River Greenway now makes an important connection between the Big Rivers Regional Trail and Mississippi River Regional Trail, as well as to several other amenities.
Minnesota Department of Transportation – 2015 Environmental Stewardship Award