St. Paul – Changsha Sister City China Friendship Garden
The MN China Friendship Garden Society, co-founded by Professor C.C. Hsiao and Linda Mealey-Lohmann of the China Garden Committee of USCPFA-MN, is working with the City of St. Paul, the City of Changsha, Hunan Province in China, and the St. Paul Parks & Rec Department, to create a China Garden at Phalen Park, next to beautiful Lake Phalen. This would be a sister-city China Friendship Garden with Changsha-style architecture. Changsha has been the sister-city to the City of St. Paul since 1988. In 2015, Phalen Park became sister parks with Yanghu Wetlands Park in Changsha, China. Be sure to check the new website for the St. Paul – Changsha China Garden.
In 2011, the Phalen-Keller Regional Park Master Plan was approved, which incorporates the Changsha China Garden. In 2015, Representative Tim Mahoney and Senator Foung Hawj co-sponsored a bill that provided the $50,000 Legacy Funds for the China Garden conceptual design. In October 2015, a delegation of four members of the MN China Friendship Garden Society (Linda Mealey-Lohmann, Brenda Fong, Bill Zajicek, Romi Slowiak) traveled with St. Paul Mayor Coleman to Changsha, China, to further the sister-city relationship and the China Garden project in Phalen Park. In November 2015, two Changsha architects traveled to St. Paul to view the Phalen Park site and to begin creating a conceptual plan for the China Garden, completed in January 2016.
- First China Garden in the United States using Changsha-style architecture
- Sister-City project between City of St. Paul and its sister-city Changsha, Hunan, China
- Located at Phalen Park, St. Paul, across from “Meditation” sculpture by Changsha Sculptor Lei Yixin
- Partnering with St. Paul Parks & Recreation Department
- Open air pavilion replicating famous Changsha Aiwan Pavilion
- Lakeside pavilion with classroom
- Hmong Cultural Plaza
- Arched stone bridge
- Decorative Chinese rock
- Walking paths
Minnesota Advisor to the Garden Society, Weiming Lu, pointing out location of China Garden in relation to “Meditation” statue by Master Lei Yixin, of Changsha, China
The 9-foot sculpture by Changsha Master Artist Lei Yixin, entitled “Meditation,” was installed at Phalen Park and dedicated by Mayor Coleman. This sculpture was created in July 2006, when the US-China Peoples Friendship Association, Minnesota Chapter, invited Master Lei from China to participate in the St. Paul “Minnesota Rocks” Stone Carving Symposium. Master Lei is the artist responsible for creating and carving the 30-foot Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial “Stone of Hope” installed in Washington, D.C. and dedicated in 2011. Master Lei is a liaison between USCPFA-MN and the Minnesota China Friendship Garden Society and the Changsha and Hunan governments.
Phalen Park is the site of the annual two-day Dragon Festival in July, which attracts visitors from all over the state to view the 40-foot long Chinese dragon boat races, along with Asian performances, martial arts demonstrations, and food. The China Friendship Pavilion would complement and enhance both the beautiful Changsha sculpture and the Dragon Festival.
Views of the site as planning continues (slide show)
Advisor Weiming Lu is an Urban Designer and former President of Lowertown Redevelopment Corporation and a former trustee of the Minneapolis Foundation. He is our chief advisor for the China Garden projects. He has a proven track record locally and internationally for completing large-scale projects and obtaining funding. His work includes Mears Park (a calm oasis in downtown St. Paul with a band shell, a stream, and landscaping; $ 1.8 million), the Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary ($8.3 million to date), his role as an advisor to the Beijing Olympics, among many other projects. His many awards include the Presidential Award for Design Excellence, and the Community Design Excellence Award from the Minnesota Chapter, American Society of Landscape Architects, and the River Steward award from the Riverfront Corporation. In 2013, he published The Tao of Urban Rejuvenation: Building a Livable Creative Urban Village, in Chinese and English (Beaver’s Pond Press). His experience continues to be invaluable to this project.