Strategic Planning

The CapitolRiver Council Board of Directors has begun a strategic planning process for 2022-2023.


District Council History

The City of Saint Paul website has a lot of information about the history of district councils. The following excerpt partly explains why neighborhood groups were formed:

By 1967, neighborhood organizations in Saint Paul had built enough momentum to be able to form a coalition as the Association of Saint Paul Communities. ... this action was taken at the suggestion of James Dalglish, a member of the City Council at that time. Dalglish recognized the need for a medium to bring the problems of the various communities to the attention of the council and a channel through which city government could respond and inform the citizens of legislation and actions for which their government was responsible. Before 1980, the City Council consisted of seven members all elected citywide on an "at large" basis. ... No single member had the pulse of all the different neighborhood organizations and community groups. ... There was no clear voice for individual neighborhoods in the City and there was widespread frustration with competing groups who claimed to represent certain areas and interests. Soon the association grew to 17 different neighborhood associations representing nearly all parts of the city.

Role in Local Planning

The City website also contains a list of Neighborhood Plans, and guidance documents that explain the local planning process, which includes district council duties. A good explanation is found in The Road to the Community Plan

Local plans need to align with the Saint Paul 2040 Comprehensive Plan

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

City officials have provided additional funding for District Councils in 2014-2021 that was focused on making the work of district councils more inclusive, and to improve outcomes related to racial equity. More information about diversity, equity and inclusion for district councils

2022-2023 Strategic Planning Updates

  • The following change has been suggested for the CRC Mission:
    • 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, connected, and vibrant neighborhoods.
  • A suggested next step is for current board members to answer the question, "What would success look like if we were to achieve our highest possible value?
  • The following are examples of mandates, which are requirements that are included in the Community Engagement contract with the City:
    • Serve as a conduit of information between the neighborhoods and the City Council, HRA Board, Mayor, and City Departments.

    • Lead and implement high-quality planning and public policy decision-making activities, related to land use, housing, transportation, economic development, food systems, waste management, neighborhood livability, public safely, and the natural environment. This work ensures that the City’s planning and public policy decision-making processes include diverse voices and a local perspective.

    • Improved Neighborhood and City Livability and Sustainability -- engage the community in the concrete work of making the District 17 neighborhoods better and more sustainable places to live, learn, work, and play. Provide technical assistance and support for community-based livability and sustainability initiatives, including but not limited to community gardens, place-making projects, neighborhood clean-up events, tree restoration projects, local library associations, etc.

    • Community Building-- build connections within and between communities. This work includes coordinating large neighborhood events, support for National Night Out and other block-level organizing, outreach to underrepresented populations, and technical support for small-scale community building initiatives.

    • Participate in a peer support/best practices network composed of district councils or similar grassroots, place-based organizations in the region.

    • Review and adopt policies and practices that intentionally create space for residents who currently are under-represented. Pursue systemic work that reflects the needs and priorities of residents who have been historically under-represented.

  • Examples of core values include the CRC Inclusion Plan (adopted January 25, 2022) and Code of Conduct.
  • At the November CRC Board of Directors meeting, board members asked if CRC could hire a facilitator for this process. Due to budget constraints, that is impossible for 2022, so CRC staff is implementing fundraising activities to pay for a consultant for this purpose in 2023.