Posts Tagged ‘ Alliance for Metropolitan Stability ’

Transit Workshop

Transit meeting

Community engagement continues to be a central issue in development and planning. When engagement is poorly managed, community members may feel an incoming assault in their neighborhoods, which can make or break a project.

“A lot of folks have anxiety about builders coming into their community,” said Leslie Moody, executive director of the Denver-based Partnership for Working Families, while presenting to an audience of over 100 participants on May 11 as part of a workshop focused on developing transit-oriented districts and walkable communities.

Held at the Wilder Foundation, the workshop, titled Equitable Development and Community Benefits, was the third in a four-part series. The session centered on leveraging a community benefits model, which builds relationships between the community, the developer and the city.

“We want the public involved in government,” said Moody. “Having active civic engagement in these processes is the way to get people to understand government and support it.”

Not all communities are created equal as pointed out by Gretchen Nicholls of the Twin Cities Local Initiatives Support Corporation, a leading sponsor of the event series.

“Community is a term we use very easily, although it’s a very complex idea,” she said.

After Moody’s presentation, participants shared success stories from their local areas and discussed topics related to points of influence in planning, timing mismatch, connecting on different priorities, and engaging communities over time.

A panel of local community organizers offered perspective. The panel included Russ Adams, Alliance for Metropolitan Stability; Gretchen Nicholls, LISC / Corridor Development Initiative; Malik Holt-Shabazz, Harrison Neighborhood Association; Mihailo (Mike) Temali, Neighborhood Development Center; Jonathan Sage Martinson, Central Corridor Funders Collaborative; and Brian Miller, Seward Redesign.

Common themes involved engaging developers early on, the role of small business, and ensuring community involvement beyond planning and throughout implementation.

Event sponsors included Twin Cities LISC, Metropolitan Council, Central Corridor Funders Collaborative, Center for Transit-Oriented Development, Urban Land Institute and The McKnight Foundation.

The last workshop, Financing of Transit-Oriented Districts – Building Public/Private Partnerships will be from 9 a.m. to noon June 15 at Dorsey & Whitney, 50 S. 6th Street, Minneapolis. For registration details, email Gretchen Nicholls.

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2010 Allies for Justice Awards Dinner and Celebration

Stops For us

Nieeta Presley of ASANDC and Joan Vanhala of Alliance for Metropolitan Stability

Please join us for the 2010 Allies for Justice Awards Dinner and Celebration on Wednesday, May 19, from 5:30 – 8:30 p.m. at Nicollet Island Pavilion (40 Power Street, Minneapolis).

Join us to honor this year’s Allies for Justice Award recipients, chosen because they embody Headwaters Foundation’s conviction that, together, we can create social and political conditions that guarantee justice for all.

GRANTEES: MOVING JUSTICE FORWARD ON TRANSIT EQUITY
For the first time, the Allies for Justice Awards will honor a group of organizations for their collective impact in the local community. Through their collaboration with each other and numerous other community organizations on Central Corridor Light Rail Transit development in St. Paul, these Headwaters grantees have brought attention to the issues of affordable housing, maintaining bus service in this transit-dependent community and, in a recent victory, the need to add stops in three high-density neighborhoods. The 10 organizations being recognized for moving forward on transit equity are:

  • Alliance for Metropolitan Stability
  • Community Stabilization Project
  • District 7 Planning Council
  • Got Voice? Got Power! / Aurora St. Anthony NDC
  • ISAIAH
  • Jewish Community Action
  • JUST Equity
  • Metropolitan Interfaith Council on Affordable Housing
  • Somali Action Alliance
  • TakeAction Minnesota

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.

Stops for Us Celebration

Stops for Us celebration

Nieeta Presley and Metric Giles of ASANDC celebrate with Stops for Us Coalition at Arnellia's

The community along the Central Corridor in St. Paul has been asking for extra train stops at key intersections since the light rail expansion was conceived. Just a few weeks ago, they got them. Community groups, neighborhood organizations, local elected officials and individuals have been working with federal, state and local officials to find funding and political support for the stops. A celebration was held at Arnellia’s on University Avenue on Feb. 8 to enjoy the sweet success of good old-fashioned community organizing.

With local businesses worried about revenue during construction, lawsuits being filed against the proposed light rail route and an inadequate amount of train stops, many community members have been hesitant to welcome the transit project. This victory was one felt deeply by those who worked hard to achieve it, and the party at Arnellia’s was well deserved.

The local pub was full of community members, leaders and organizational representatives. People from Isaiah, CSP, Jewish Community Action, Alliance for Metro Stability, ASANDC and more were there to cheer the funding of the new stops. City Councilmembers Russ Stark and Melvin Carter III were there as well. The party filled the back room of Arnelia’s with laughter and noise: specifically singing. A song written for the occasion was chanted by everyone, and was definitely the highpoint of the evening. “We’ve been hoping for this for a long time,” said Metric Giles, a board member of the Aurora/St. Anthony Neighborhood Development Corporation.

The Stops for Us Coalition: »Alliance for Metropolitan Stability »Asian Economic Dev. Association »ASANDC »Community Stabilization Project »District Councils Collaborative »Got Voice, Got Power! »Hmong Organizing Program, TakeActionMN »Housing Preservation Project »ISAIAH »Jewish Community Action »JUST Equity »Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy »Model Cities »MICAH »Preserve and Benefit Historic Rondo Committee »Saint Paul NAACP »Saint Paul Urban League »Transit for Livable Communities »UFCW Local 789 »University UNITED »University Ave. Business Association.

Anti-Gentrification Conference

Sushma Sheth, a longtime community organizer and racial justice activist, was keynote speaker for “Stay in Place and Thrive: Community Forum on Resisting Gentrification” at the Lao Family Community Center in Saint Paul on April 16. A native of Miami, born to immigrant parents from India, Sheth was awarded the New Voices Fellowship by the Academy for Educational Development in 2002, a Miami Fellowship by the Dade Community Foundation in 2006, and was named one of Miami’s 25 Power Women in 2006. This year, Sushma Sheth was named a Paul and Daisy Soros New American Fellow.

“Stay in Place and Thrive” was sponsored by the Preserve and Benefit Historic Rondo Committee, the Asian Economic Development Association, and the Alliance for Metropolitan Stability in response to the Central Corridor Light Rail Transit Line.

— By Ashanti Austin

Resisting gentrification

central-corridor-station

Stay in Place and Thrive Community Forum on Resisting Gentrification will be held from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Lao Family Community, 320 W. University Ave., St. Paul. Sponsored by the Preserve and Benefit Historic Rondo Committee, the Asian Economic Development Association/Hmong Business Assn., and the Alliance for Metropolitan Stability. The forum will feature national presenters who will discuss strategies for resisting displacement in low-income communities of color when redevelopment occurs. Dinner will be provided. For more information, call (651) 222-0399.