Archive for the ‘ Alliance for Metropolitan Stability ’ Category

Community Roundtable

Organizer Roundtable

About 30 people attended the Organizer Roundtable on the Building Sustainable Communities project.

More than 30 attendees from 22 organizations gathered at the Model Cities Communities Room on University Avenue on February 24, 2010, to hear impassioned community leaders share their raw experiences — the triumphs and the difficulties — in realizing the true meaning of collaboration.

Collaboration, in this case, meant creating neighborhood-centric, multi-partner coalitions aligned with the Building Sustainable Communities initiative supported by Twin Cities LISC.

As part of a monthly roundtable series organized by the Alliance for Metropolitan Stability, the event, titled “Community Partnerships for Success,” drew excellent attendance according to Joan Vanhala, coalition organizer with AMS.

“I appreciated the different leaders who talked honestly about their challenges in working with coalitions towards one common goal,” said Vanhala.

Those leaders included Mari Bongiovanni, executive director, East Side Neighborhood Development Company; Staci Horwitz, program director, City of Lakes Community Land Trust; Cathy Maes, executive director, ICA Food Shelf; Judy Elling, executive director of ResourceWest in Hopkins; and Nieeta Presley, executive director, Aurora/St. Anthony Community Development Corporation.

During the two-hour session, leaders outlined the formulation of their collaborative, conveying both excitement and frustration in the challenges and rewards of developing cross-sector partnerships.

“I can see that in the different presentations, we’re at different levels of maturity, and we all came out in completely different ways,” said Bongiovanni. “We [St Paul’s East Side] needed to sit at the table for quite a while.”

After four years, Bongiovanni admitted her collaborative is still working on finding a comprehensive voice, which has slightly fragmented recently due to resident churn in a tough economy. That said, she noted the effort put forth in a multi-year process that started with informational meetings and evolved into 64 organizations sitting at a table calling each other to ask for advice and referrals.

“That was a big step,” she said. “Before we were all in our little silos and hoping that we would get funded and others wouldn’t because that would be more money for us.”

The next Organizer Roundtable will be “Race, Power and Organizing,” which will address the dynamics of race in day-to-day life, and how to integrate racial equity in campaign focus.

Race, Power and Organizing

Noon – 1:30 p.m., Wednesday, March 31
Rondo Community Library
461 N. Dale St.
St. Paul, MN 55103

Building Sustainable Communities Roundtable

LISC logoJoin Model Cities, the Alliance for Metropolitan Stability, Aurora/St. Anthony NDC and other Frogtown Rondo Action Network partners at an Organizer Roundtable — Community Partnerships for Success: Building Sustainable Communities from noon to 2 p.m. Wednesday, February 24, at Model Cities Community Room, 839 University Avenue, Saint Paul. (Map/Directions or Transit Planner)

In 2007, the Twin Cities was chosen by the national Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) to carry out a Building Sustainable Communities demonstration to promote more integrated and comprehensive approaches to community development. Twin Cities LISC is implementing the project with a focus on five areas: St. Paul’s East Side, the Central Corridor, Minneapolis’ north and south sides, and the suburban community of Hopkins. They chose these areas because each offers a multitude of potential partners, opportunities and issues.

Come hear from community leaders involved in the program about their efforts to direct resources toward community-based projects already under way that would otherwise be constrained by limited means and abilities. Join in the dialogue about how innovative partnerships like this can leverage resources for community projects.

Organizer Roundtables are free but registration is required. Light snacks will be provided. Feel free to bring your lunch.

Celebrate our Victory on LRT stations

Nieeta Presley and Joan Vanhala of the Stops for Us! Coalition

Nieeta Presley and Joan Vanhala of the Stops for Us! Coalition

Please join us for a Stops for Us Victory Celebration and Potluck at 1080 University Avenue, St. Paul, MN on Friday, February 5th at 4pm.

Bring your favorite victory food and beverages to share as we celebrate the inclusion of the three stations at Western, Hamline, and Victoria into the Central Corridor LRT project.

Also feel free to bring your favorite music and a story to share.

Not to be missed! See you there!

In case you missed the news reports, here are details from Joan Vanhala, Coalition Organizer, Alliance for Metropolitan Stability:

The 3 stations at Western, Victoria, and Hamline will be included in the Central Corridor LRT project budget and be built by the completion of the Central Corridor LRT line!!

At a historic press conference at Model Cities with Mayor Chris Coleman, Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, Congressman Jim Oberstar, Senator Amy Klobuchar, Congressman Keith Ellison, City Councilmember Melvin Carter, Commissioner Toni Carter, and Commissioner Jim McDonough it was announced that all three stations at Western, Victoria and Hamline will be included and built by the completion of the Central Corridor LRT line.

With the changes at the federal level, the federal government will now match the city of St. Paul’s commitment of $5.2 million, which will pay for two stations. The third station’s funding was pieced together with local funds from the Counties Transit Improvement Board, Ramsey County and the Central Corridor Funders Collaborative and will be matched by federal funds.

DOT Secretary Ray LaHood was quoted as telling the Stops for Us organizers, “You’ve made a difference and we will use you as an example across the country…that if you hang together, have a great project that’s for the people, and work with your delegation, you can make things happen.”

Congratulations to the to the East University Avenue community members, the Stops for Us coalition and supporting partner organizations, and elected officials who worked hard together to make this happen!!

To quote Councilmember Carter’s press release:

This is a HUGE victory, but our work to ensure that this project will serve those of us who chose this community long before light rail, is far from done. I’m glad to know our federal partners understand the importance of this project and its impact on our community, and I look forward to our continued work together to:

  • Mitigate the loss of on-street parking;
  • Help small businesses survive construction; and
  • Ensure that we will build our future here by supporting our diverse set of residents and businesses, not by allowing them to be displaced.