Archive for October, 2009

Human Rights Day

Don’t miss the human rights event of the year — the 2009  Human Rights Day Conference & Forum on Dec. 4 at Saint Paul River Centre, sponsored by the state Department of Human Rights and League of Minnesota Human Rights Commissions.

The conference will feature a keynote address by author and Wayne State University Law School Dean Dr. Frank Wu. Wu is the author of Yellow: Race in America Beyond Black and White, and co-author of Race, Rights and Reparation: Law and The Japanese American Internment.

The conference theme, “Where Do We Go From Here?” is inspired from Dr. Martin Luther King’s final book written in 1967, Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community? The Minnesota Department of Human Rights 26th annual Human Rights Day Conference will feature more than 20 workshops on some of today’s most important human rights issues.

For information, click here.

Central Corridor Bid Opportunities

Utility relocation work at Fourth and Robert streets in downtown St. Paul. Photo courtesy of Met Council

Utility relocation work at Fourth and Robert streets in downtown St. Paul. Photo courtesy of Met Council

The Minnesota Transportation Museum at the historic Jackson Street roundhouse, 193 Pennsylvania Ave. E., St. Paul, will be the setting for a Central Corridor bid opportunity mixer next month. The bid opportunities information exchange will be from 1 to 4 p.m. Nov. 9.

The goal is to give interested construction firms a preview of the primary construction contracts that will be let in 2010. Attendees will have a chance to meet with owners of Disadvantaged Business Enterprises and discuss potential partnerships.  “We thought that it would be both fun and important to host this event at the museum, which provides a glimpse into our transportation past whilst planning for its future,” said Roderic Southall, lead staff on the Central Corridor project for the Met Council’s Office of Diversity. “The attendees are sure to have an appreciation for the role of construction in making both past and future transportation plans a reality.”

To register, businesses need to contact Jackie Becker by Nov. 1 by email or phone, (651) 602-1940.

U7 hires business advisors

Hiawatha LRT construction photo courtesy of Met Council

Hiawatha LRT construction photo courtesy of Met Council

The University Avenue Business Preparation Collaborative — known as U7 — is working to help existing and new businesses survive the Central Corridor Light Rail Transit construction phase and to improve their businesses after the construction is complete. We plan to offer technical assistance and business development planning in areas such as cash-flow management, advertising, customer retention and more. Plans also include new pools of funds for short-term lending and real-estate acquisition lending. The collaborative includes:

U7 is advised by the city of St. Paul, Twin Cities Local Initiatives Support Corporation, Model Cities, University United, the St. Paul Port Authority and UABA. The collaborative has hired two business-retention advisors, Sia Lo and Marilyn Porter, both of whom have extensive experience in the business and nonprofit sectors. To contact the business-retention advisors:

  • Email Sia Lo  or call (651) 789-7486.
  • Email Marilyn Porter or call (651) 230-1020.

Workshop to Focus on LRT Jobs


In October, the Metropolitan Council and five community organizations will hold a business and employment workshop featuring the Central Corridor LRT Project.

This will be the Met Council’s fifth large community meeting in a year for minority- and women-owned small businesses or job seekers to learn about job opportunities on the biggest public works project in state history. More than 300 people have attended the first four meetings.

The latest session is targeted at African-American business owners and workforce advocates who have an interest in ensuring African-American inclusion in the Central Corridor LRT line’s construction, which will begin in late summer 2010.

The meeting will be held twice on Oct. 14, running from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and again from 6 to 8 p.m., at the Hallie Q. Brown Community Center at 270 N. Kent St. in St. Paul. To register, contact Jackie Becker by email or 651-602-1940 by Oct. 8.

Besides the Met Council, the other sponsors are the Council on Black Minnesotans, Aurora/St. Anthony Neighborhood Development Corp., Selby Area Community Development Corp., African Economic Development Solutions and the St. Paul branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

The two sessions will highlight what the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise program is and how firms may become DBE certified, the construction bid packages that will be forthcoming and the range of construction trades that will be used on the project.

“The African-American community has been a staple of the area surrounding the Central Corridor route. As such, it only makes sense that the businesses and workers of that community participate in the construction of the line which will usher in a new phase of development and sense of community for the area,” said Roderic Southall, lead staff on the Central Corridor project for the Met Council’s Office of Diversity. “There are many African American construction-related companies that have already expressed interest in working on the project. They are seeking more information on how and when the construction projects will roll out.”

The Met Council’s Office of Diversity plans to conduct more specialized business and workforce opportunity sessions with various communities in the near future.

Frogtown Square Project Update

Rendering of Frogtown Square by Trossen Wright Plutowski Architects, PA

Rendering of Frogtown Square by Trossen Wright Plutowski Architects, PA

The Frogtown Square project, a planned mixed-use development on the northeast corner of Dale and University, is getting ready to go out to bid. The project, adjacent to the Rondo Community Outreach Library, will include commercial space and senior housing. Interested contractors should send a letter of interest and their qualifications to Becky Landon at Ponterre Group, LLC. Call her at (651) 647-3457 for more information. Women- and minority-owned businesses are encouraged to apply.

Help for Potential Homeowners

Members of the MCASA Board meet at ASANDC offices in St. Paul

Members of the MCASA Board meet at ASANDC offices in St. Paul

MCASA, a partnership between Model Cities Community Development Corp. and Aurora St. Anthony Neighborhood Development Corp., seeks to create affordable home ownership opportunities for low-income families and works with home ownership counselors to provide guidance and assistance to participants in moving toward homeownership. HomeStretch classes, which cost $25, will be held from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Brownstone Building, 849 University Ave. (directions/transit info), on the following dates:

  • Oct. 17 – Part I, Oct. 24 – Part II
  • Nov. 7 – Part I, Nov. 14 – Part II
  • No classes in December

For more information, call Brenda Bailey at (651) 632-8350 or email her.