John Gunyou, former state finance commissioner and city manager for Minnetonka since 2000, announced Tuesday that he's running for the Three Rivers Park District Board of Commissioners.

Gunyou, 63, said that he and his family have always been frequent users of parks and trails, and serving on the board offers the chance to leave a positive legacy.

"Frankly, the things that have been the most fun in the past dozen years have been working on projects for parks, trails, open spaces and natural areas," he said of his time as city manager. "It has special appeal for me."

Three Rivers manages almost 27,000 acres of land, mostly in western Hennepin County, with about 21 park reserves, regional parks and special-use facilities, and hundreds of miles of trails.

Its seven-member board consists of five commissioners elected from districts in suburban Hennepin County, and two appointed by the Hennepin County Board.

Gunyou is running for the Fourth District seat held by Dale Woodbeck, who is not seeking reelection.

The district encompasses Minne-tonka, Edina, Hopkins, Richfield, Shorewood, Excelsior, Deephaven, Greenwood, Tonka Bay and Woodland.

Commissioners, who do not run with party labels, meet monthly, and additionally as needed for workshops and briefing sessions.

Gunyou announced last January that he would retire June 1 from his job as city manager. He was finance commissioner under Republican Gov. Arne Carlson, has held a number of positions on state and national boards, and teaches a class at the University of Minnesota's Carlson School of Management.

He surprised many in 2010 by becoming the running mate for Margaret Anderson Kelliher in her unsuccessful DFL primary bid for governor.

As city manager for Minnetonka, Gunyou restructured departments and cut staff. He also led efforts to open the visibility and accessibility of Minnehaha Creek, and said that partnerships between cities, the park district and the watershed district will be critical to keep natural resources and outdoor recreation strong and healthy in the years ahead.

No other candidates have announced interest in the District 4 position yet. If more than two candidates decide to run in a district, a primary will be held Aug. 14.

Three Rivers commissioners are paid $927 per month, except for the board chairman who receives $978.50 per month.

Tom Meersman • 612-673-7388