About CapitolRiver Council

CapitolRiver Council – District 17 is one of the 17 district councils for the City of St. Paul. The CRC operates as a private, 501(c)3 non-profit organization engaging residents, business owners, workers and property owners in issues and projects in downtown Saint Paul. The organization makes community-based recommendations via a network of volunteer-based committees and a board of directors with up to 18 elected members and up to 9 appointed members. The CRC works to make downtown a better place to live, work and visit. From policy development to the sponsorship of community events to design review of new projects, the CRC provides venues for fruitful citizen participation that lead to the continued physical revitalization and economic growth of this historic downtown.

Saint Paul district councils

District Councils are the 17 geographic districts established by the City of St. Paul in 1975 to organize the public participation process throughout the city. The district council structure is designed to foster increased participation in government planning and decision-making, to ensure a citywide communication network, and a point of contact for land-use issues. Each district council has a governing board of elected volunteers and operates as a private non-profit organization, 501(c)(3).

To learn more about the District Council system in the City of St. Paul, check out the City’s web site.

Saint Paul Districts map

Download a PDF of the Saint Paul Districts Map.


CapitolRiver Council, an official advisory group to the City Council, represents and works in partnership with all District 17 stakeholders to act on urban planning and community building efforts as part of a shared vision to support sustainable, safe, healthy, and vibrant neighborhoods.

Who Should Get Involved

CRC represents anyone who lives, owns property or a business, or works within the boundaries of the district. The boundaries run from the Capitol to the River, and from Lafayette Bridge to Kellogg Blvd and West 7th, with an area from Kellogg to Ramsey Hill along the north side of 35E.


2017-2018 CapitolRiver Council Officers

  • Chair: Tom Erickson
  • Vice Chair: Xenia Y. Hernandez
  • External Relations Officer: vacant
  • Internal Relations Officer: Paul Mandell
  • Treasurer: Adam Azra’el
  • Secretary: Sharon Boerbon Hanson

CapitolRiver Council Board Members

Term Expiring in 2018 Term Expiring in 2019 2017 Appointed Members
 Adam Azra’el  Barry Cipra  Nick Cusick, Visit Saint Paul
 Kati Berg   Todd Gray  Brett Greenfield, BOMA
 Ed Coleman  Jeanne Hall  Jennifer Hensley, The M
 Bill Englund  Mackenzie Kelly   Bill Huepenbecker, Minnesota Wild
 Sandra Erickson  Paul Mandell Tyson Jeffers, Saint Paul Saints
 Tom Erickson  James McClean   Emily Larson, Saint Paul Arts Collective
 Sharon Boerbon Hanson  Nicholas Swanson Gerry Lauer, Catholic Charities
 Xenia Y. Hernandez
 Paul Kaelble
 Rhonda Smieja


CRC Bylaws – Amended Oct. 26, 2017

Meeting Minutes

For Board Meeting agendas and minutes, click here.


Q: Who is eligible to vote for the Board?

A: Any resident, business or property owner within the district, or any worker within the district who lives elsewhere, is eligible after he or she has registered with the CRC Secretary (by signing in at a meeting of the board of directors, a committee, or task force).

Q: What are district councils?

A: District council are independent nonprofit neighborhood organizations that ensure community participation in the Saint Paul’s planning and decision making processes. There are 17 district councils in Saint Paul.

Q: What is the definition and mission of the community participation process?

A: The formal definition of community participation, as adopted in 1975 by the Saint Paul City Council, is: “(It) is a process, not a structure. The City has a responsibility to develop a process that will ensure that everyone has the opportunity to communicate with City government, and further that everyone is assured that they will be heard. This process cannot guarantee that there will always be agreement nor is it a substitution of one level of government for another or any other transfer of power.” The mission of the community participation process is to facilitate effective, informed and representative participation of community members in government and self-help initiatives and to provide them a channel for communication with elected officials, City department staff, and other relevant agency representatives.

Q: What is the history of the district council system?

A: The City of Saint Paul officially established a citywide community participation process by council resolution in October 1975. Here are some historical points of interest:

  • 1975 – City Council passed resolutions establishing the community participation process and establishing steps for recognition to be followed by the district councils.
  • 1976-1979 – District councils followed steps to recognition and were then officially designated by a City Council resolution as the district council for a specific area. Seventeen district councils were recognized, based on neighborhoods, not population.
  • 1979 – City Council passed a resolution establishing the Early Notification System, a set of policies and procedures that provides timely information to district councils and others about the City’s activities being proposed, planned and/or implemented.
  • 1980 – District council funding was put on a formula basis, based on size and demographic information for each council.

Q: What are the common characteristics of district councils?

A: Each district council is an independent non-profit, tax-exempt (501-c-3) organization that receives funding from City. As an independent organization, each district council hires its own staff members, including an executive director and/or community organizer. District council employees are not city employees, but employees of each district council. The governing board of each district council is composed of volunteers elected primarily by residents.

Each district council provides advisory recommendations to City officials on physical, economic, and social development issues, as well as on citywide issues. District councils also receive funding from the city for neighborhood crime prevention programs. In addition, these neighborhood groups identify neighborhood needs, and initiate community programs to meet these.