Archive for the ‘ Model Cities ’ Category

Homebuyer Education

Homebuyer education and counseling, known as the Home Stretch Program, is coordinated by the Minnesota Home Ownership Center and delivered by local, non-profit, community-based organizations. Home Stretch eight-hour workshops offer education about the home buying process and cover credit and budgeting; qualifying for a loan; special loan programs; shopping for a new home; home inspections; maintaining your home; and successful home ownership.

Classes sponsored by Model Cities, in partnership with Aurora/St. Anthony NDC, will be held at the Brownstone Building, 849 University Ave. in St. Paul from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on the following Saturdays (participants attend two sessions):

May 15 and 22; June 5, 12, 19 and 26; July 10, 17, 24 and 31;  August 7, 14, 21 and 28; September 4, 11, 18 and 25; October 2, 9, 16 and 23; November 6 and 13; December 4 and 11.

For more information about Home Stretch classes, contact Brenda Bailey at Model Cities,  651-632-8350 or by email.

Frogtown Square Meet & Greet

Frogtown Square meet and greet

About 100 people showed up for the Frogtown Square meet and greet

Frogtown Square meet and greet 2

Frogtown Square meet and greet

On the corner of University Avenue and Dale Avenue is an empty lot where the old Saint Paul Police Western District Office used to stand. However, it will not be empty for much longer: A new mixed-use development, known as Frogtown Square, will be built there.

There was a ground breaking for the four-story project on November 23, 2009, at which Mayor Chris Coleman, City Councilman Melvin Carter and others spoke enthusiastically about the project. Greater Frogtown CDC, Model Cities, Neighborhood Development Center, and Aurora/Saint Anthony Neighborhood Development Corporation have collaborated to see this mixed-use building come full circle. The ground floor of Frogtown Square will be for commercial use, approximately 10,000 square feet for shops and offices, all of which have been rented by small, minority-owned businesses in the area. The upper three floors will be affordable apartments for independent seniors.

On Feb. 22, developers held a meet-and-greet at the Central Corridor Resource Center to connect general contractors, Benson and Orth Associates/Meyer Contracting JV, with local subcontractors and residents from the neighborhood looking for construction jobs.

Nieeta Presley of ASANDC shared the hope behind the meet-and-greet between the general contractors and the subcontractors. “The development is designed to help the community grow through people working together to make things happen in their own neighborhood,” she said. “Plus, it gives an opportunity to low-income people, minorities, and women. It helps the area to become a better community by letting folks get to know each other and make a difference in their neighborhood.”

Because the project has received Section 3 funding from HUD, it is required, to the greatest extent possible, provide job training, employment and contract opportunities for low- or very-low income residents in connection with projects and activities in their neighborhoods, according to HUD.

Close to a hundred people showed up to the event and were able to meet the general contractors and get connected with those they have already subcontracted with.

Construction is set to begin in earnest later this month.

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.

Central Corridor Parking: Your Story, Your Solutions

Central Corridor light rail station rendering

Central Corridor light rail station rendering

Are you ready for Light Rail Construction & a Prosperous Future on University Avenue?

You are cordially invited to a meeting of the University Avenue Business Association on Thursday, January 21st, 2010, at 7:45AM for networking, coffee, and donuts (Program from 8-9 a.m.)

Meetings are held in the Model Cities Brownstone Meeting Room, 849 University Avenue, St. Paul, NE corner of University and Victoria. All events are free and open to the public.

UABA will present Parking Survey Results from small businesses along University Avenue. Come hear their stories and share your own stories.

  • What is your parking situation?
  • What are solutions that could work for your business?

UABA is working on a Parking Recommendation to bring meaningful solutions where the loss of on-street parking will negatively impact small businesses. You can be a part of the solution.

Future Third Thursday Events: Mark your calendars.

  • Thursday, Feb. 18th: To Be Announced
  • Thursday, March 18th, Marketing University Avenue

For more information, contact Linda Winsor: or 651.641.0334

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.

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.

MCASA Means Home

803 Sherburne Ave., one of the MCASA rehabbed homes available for purchase

803 Sherburne Ave., one of the MCASA rehabbed homes available for purchase

MCASA Homes, 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. It does so by building and rehabbing homes and working with potential buyers to develop the financial skills necessary to be successful homeowners.

The MCASA and ASANDC partnership invests in the health of the Frogtown-Aurora/St. Anthony community. MCASA has constructed six single-family homes in the Summit-University neighborhood, and is rehabbing up to a dozen more in Summit-U and Frogtown. According to Nieeta Presley, Executive Director of Aurora/St. Anthony Neighborhood Development Corp., “This is a long-term investment. We do not just throw people into homes. We connect families to the community, making sure that they are well educated and surrounded with resources.”

“System players didn’t think we could do it,” said Barbara Jeanetta, senior program officer of Twin Cities Local Initiatives Support Corporation. “Now, five years later, we see other banks scrambling to do the same with their own approach. However, they are still not willing to go the extra mile to continue giving families support once they enter the home.”

For MCASA, the “extra mile” takes the form of Home Stretch classes, which are designed to give the participants the tools they need for sustainable homeownership. This is what makes MCASA different.

For more info about MCASA Homes, check out the August/September edition of the ASANDC Newsletter or contact:

  • MCASA Homes: Brenda Bailey, (651) 632-8345 | email
  • ASANDC: Nieeta Presley, (651) 222-0399, ext. 101 | email

— By Ashanti Austin