Three decades of urban redevelopment along the Mississippi River

St Paul, MN – John Koneck, Board Chair of the Saint Paul Riverfront Corporation, announced that the organization will cease operations on July 31, 2018, marking 33 years of serving the City of Saint Paul and its transformation and maintenance as a model urban center. “The City of Saint Paul owes a debt of gratitude to the Saint Paul Riverfront Corporation for changing the vision of what is possible in our community and for always challenging us to ensure that every voice is heard,” said Saint Paul Mayor Melvin Carter.

In 2017, Darlene Walser, Riverfront Corporation Executive Director, created and led a year-long process that resulted in a Downtown Vitality Vision (DVV) by gathering together key leadership from multiple stakeholder groups to identify challenges and develop solutions for the downtown. (View the DVV Final Report here.) This inclusive and thoughtful process resulted in the creation of the Saint Paul Downtown Alliance, a partnership that will address major cross-sector challenges of a 21st Century downtown.

“Darlene’s leadership ensured an inclusive and productive environment in which to explore and brainstorm across sectors and communities. She ultimately helped Saint Paul discover a new way of doing business,” remarked Tanya Bell, co-founder and partner of Grand Real Estate Advisors, member of the DVV Steering committee, and co-chair of the Jobs & Office Working Group. “Darlene is a strong leader and passionate advocate for building a better Saint Paul. We will miss her vision and commitment.”

Walser, who joined the Riverfront Corporation in July 2016, will leave the organization the end of the month. She will continue to work in leadership and consulting roles with cities across the U.S. that are invested in cross-sector partnerships to create vibrant and inclusive 21st Century cities.

“One of the greatest hallmarks of the Riverfront Corporation has been its ability to respond to the evolving nature of the community through its close relationships with public officials, civic and business leaders, and the community at large,” noted Anne Hunt, Riverfront Corporation Board Vice Chair and a policy advisor to former Saint Paul Mayor Chris Coleman. “The development of a public private community partnership to address problems that no one sector can solve on its own is an example of this. However, it takes time to translate a new concept into a revenue stream; and, there is not sufficient operating support for that development.”

During its first two decades, the Riverfront Corporation was the conduit for Saint Paul to reclaim its relationship with the Mississippi River. “We used this natural asset as a tool to inspire, engage and unite the community in the creation of the Saint Paul on the Mississippi Development Framework,” added Jim Bradshaw, Riverfront Corporation Board Secretary and Founder and Chairman of Bradshaw Funeral and Cremation Services. “This resulted in billions of dollars of investment, thousands of units of new housing, great riverfront parks and trails, and a more economically and socially vibrant downtown. There is more work to be done to fully realize the city’s potential and the Downtown Vitality Vision has laid the foundation to do that.”


Download the Press Release_Apr 26_2018