Member News

  • 9 Jan 2023 7:54 AM | Bethani Gerhard (Administrator)

    Hosts Bryce Shearen and Meredith Lawrence discuss everything parks and recreation throughout the entire state of Minnesota, including the latest MRPA news and events and what's going on in your association.  

    Episode - Bison Return to Dakota County

    Join hosts Bryce and Meredith for a conversation with Dakota County Parks’ Tom Lewanski to learn about the reintroduction of a bison herd into the area.

    MRPA is grateful to Landscape Structures and Flagship Recreation for their sponsorship of the podcast.

  • 13 Dec 2022 8:09 AM | Bethani Gerhard (Administrator)

    Join us in celebration! Minnesota Recreation and Park Association's Annual General Meeting and Awards Luncheon will be held Friday, January 13, 2023 in Owatonna. The MRPA Annual General Meeting begins at 10:30 a.m. Lunch and the MRPA Professional Awards presentations will then follow.

    MRPA will honor the following outstanding parks and recreation professionals as this year's recipients of the MRPA Professional Awards: 

    CLIFTON E. FRENCH AWARD Paul Peanasky, Faribault

    JACK NILES AWARD  Reed Smidt, Woodbury

    DOROTHEA NELSON AWARD  Annie Olson, Minneapolis

    HORIZON AWARD  Meredith Lawrence, Mendota Heights

    LEADERSHIP AWARD  Sonya Rippe, Plymouth

    TOMMY JOHNSON AWARD  Plymouth Parks and Recreation

    BOARD AND COMMISSION AWARD   Lynn Haney, Crystal

    Congratulations to the 2022 MRPA Professional Award recipients!

    Click here for the Annual General Meeting and Awards Luncheon form

    Click here to register online

  • 13 Dec 2022 8:08 AM | Bethani Gerhard (Administrator)

    Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota has formed a statewide partnership with National Fitness Campaign (NFC) to launch $500,000 in grant funding for municipalities and schools across New York, to support the goal of providing free world-class fitness to all Minnesotans. This funding will be allocated to support municipalities, schools, and organizations across the state in joining the growing NFC wellness campaign building healthy infrastructure to smart cities and schools of the future. NFC’s award-winning initiative is now planning its 500th Healthy Community in America, and is poised to deliver vital outdoor wellness programs helping to fight the obesity epidemic across the country.

    If you are not yet familiar with the campaign, the program is designed to bring world-class healthy infrastructure to public spaces with the Fitness CourtⓇ, along with consulting, funding and community programming support. Please watch the National Fitness Campaign 3-minute video describing the program: Campaign Video.

    Through the partnership, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota and NFC will work with local towns, institutions and organizations who believe wellness is a priority, to bring the campaign to 10 municipalities and schools across Minnesota in 2023.

    As an affiliate partner with NFC, Minnesota Recreation and Park Association is pleased to provide priority access to application briefings for our members across Minnesota who may be interested in qualifying for funding and partnership. The briefing is a 30-minute zoom call which will qualify your community for a feasibility study and grant application. 

    If you would like to receive a briefing to learn more about the program and how to qualify, please fill out the short contact form on the program’s official web page:

  • 8 Dec 2022 9:23 AM | Bethani Gerhard (Administrator)

    Deals of December -- Choppers!

    The choppers were so popular at the conference so they’re now available for purchase for a limited time. The sale price is $35 and includes shipping and handling. The unisex sizes are small-XXL. All orders must be placed by noon on Monday, December 12. The company will ship the choppers to you with an estimated ship date between December 20 and 23. Enjoy!

  • 2 Dec 2022 12:11 PM | Bethani Gerhard (Administrator)

    The Minnesota Department of Health Arthritis Program is offering grants to community partners to support building, expanding, and sustaining Walk with Ease programs or other evidence-based walking programs that help people with arthritis manage joint pain. These mini grants ($1,000 - $3,000) will be available through June 30, 2023. Applications are due December 9, 2022. 

    Learn more and apply: Arthritis Opportunities and Resources, Let's Walk Minnesota Sustainability Grants 

    If you have any questions, please reach out to

  • 1 Dec 2022 9:01 AM | Bethani Gerhard (Administrator)

    As the premier award in parks and recreation, the National Gold Medal Award recognizes the highest achievement in parks management, open spaces, facilities, and recreation services.

    Applying for the award is an opportunity to demonstrate your agency’s accomplishments and standards of excellence to peers across the country. Check out the 2023 National Gold Medal Award video to learn more, and submit your application for this prestigious recognition today. Applications will be accepted until March 23, 2023.

  • 8 Nov 2022 2:41 PM | Bethani Gerhard (Administrator)

    The MRPA election for the Board of Directors and Recreational Sports Commission (RSC) begins this week. MRPA will again use the online platform, Election Runner, to ensure the integrity of the election. Election Runner will send an email this week from MRPA titled, Vote in the Election: MRPA Board of Directors. Watch your inbox for the online ballot, and check your spam folder if you don’t receive this email. Also, if your system is set-up to send emails to your inbox under “Focused” or “Other,” please check the “Other” folder.

    *Contributing members will not receive an election email.  Only MRPA professional members have voting rights.  Thank you.

    Click on the following links to view the Board of Directors and RSC nominee profiles:
    President-Elect and Treasurer 
    East and West Metro Regions
    Northeast and Northwest Regions
    RSC Profiles

    Please contact Michelle Snider with any questions at We hope this format offers an accessible way to vote again this year. Thank you!

  • 8 Nov 2022 12:14 PM | Bethani Gerhard (Administrator)

    The MRPA Board of Directors approved a request for proposals (RFP) for a consultant to provide the following services: conduct a membership survey and needs assessment, propose a staffing model to serve members’ needs, and establish a funding sustainability plan.

    Click here to read the RFP. The RFP has been sent to a list of consultants. If any member has a consultant contact who may be interested, please share the RFP and provide the name and company name to MRPA at

  • 6 Oct 2022 7:23 AM | Bethani Gerhard (Administrator)

    The MRPA Nominations and Elections Committee is currently seeking nominations for the following positions for the Association's Board of Directors:

    • President-Elect (3 years)
    • Treasurer (2 years)
    • Northeast Region Representative (2 years) - 1 position
    • Northwest Region Representative (2 years) - 1 position
    • East Metro Representative (2 years) - 1 position
    • West Metro Representative (2 years) - 1 position
    • Recreational Sports Commission Chair (2 years) - 1 position

    In addition, the Recreational Sports Commission (RSC) is seeking nominations for the following position: At-Large Member.

    Nominations should be forwarded by Wednesday, October 21 by email to Chuck Stifter at


  • 21 Sep 2022 8:10 AM | Bethani Gerhard (Administrator)

    The 2022 MRPA Awards Committee is calling for Professional Award nominations to recognize individuals in six different categories: Clifton E. French, Dorothea Nelson, Jack Niles, Leadership, Horizon and Board and Commission Members.  The nomination form can be completed here: All nominations must be submitted by October 9, 2022.

    Please take a moment to recognize a fellow member's outstanding work by nominating your colleague for a MRPA professional award.

    Thank you, 

    Chelsea Swenhaugen and Elizabeth Owens, Co-Chairs
    MRPA Awards Committee 2022

Minnesota Recreation & Park Association (MRPA)
200 Charles Street NE
Fridley, MN 55432

(763) 571-1305

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