Posts Tagged ‘ Business ’

U7 Newsletter Debuts

We present to you U7’s Quarterly Newsletter! Our first edition!
We hope to keep all of our colleagues, partners, small businesses owners, business supporters, and the general public abreast of the small business support services we provide and how the project is progressing. Each quarter, the newsletter will be highlighting a Central Corridor small business owner and providing small business tips, advice and resources.

This is our way of showing our appreciation for your continued support of the small businesses that dot the Central Corridor Light Rail Transit Line.
If you have any ideas of a business to highlight, information you want to know more about, or have business tips or advice to share that we can add to future editions, please drop us a line.
Sia Lo, U7 Small Business Consultant, was the lead on the creation of the U7 Newsletter and with Steve Olson’s assistance (U7’s Graphic Designer), they have provided us (and you) with a great first edition.
We would also like to take the opportunity to thank our funders: Central Corridor Funders Collaborative, St. Paul Foundation, Bigelow Foundation, City of St. Paul STAR Program, and Federal Funds provided through Congresswoman Betty McCollum. The majority of our funders have supported the U7 project since April 2009, and due to their early support we have been able to get U7 services on the ground a whole two years before construction begins on University and Washington Avenues. THANK YOU!
Find out more about U7 here.

Advertisements

Toni Carter

Toni Carter

Ramsey County Commissioner Toni Carter

In 1971, Toni Carter moved to Northfield, Minn. to attend Carleton College — a liberal arts school located near the Twin Cities. Upon graduating, she moved to St. Paul, where she became an active member in the community.

“As a young person coming here from Carleton, I was active in a lot of ways,” Carter said of her beginnings, “I was an artist and a performer who became very involved with theatre.”

Upon entering her mid-twenties, however, her lifestyle began to shift. “My activities changed as I grew up and had children,” Carter said, “and I became involved with business and the community in a much deeper way.” Now, after more than 30 years of service to Ramsey County, this deep involvement has not gone unnoticed.

Carter is currently the Commissioner of District 4 in Ramsey County and has been since 2005. In the years since her term began, the Commissioner has dedicated herself to a variety of issues and hopes to continue doing so through re-election in November.

One of the Commissioner’s top priorities is the Central Corridor Light Rail Transit line — the transportation corridor that will link downtown St. Paul and downtown Minneapolis. While the construction continues on this project, the Commissioner plans to focus on support for local businesses and neighborhoods, and resolve outstanding issues such as parking.

“The Light Rail Transit is really good for a number of reasons,” the Commissioner said. “We know for sure that it will create jobs — at least for a period of time.”

Other county projects that will allow for job expansion include the restoration of the Roseville Library and the creation of new buildings around the city. “We hope to have a continual flow of work in order to ensure jobs for years to come,” she said, “we want to create living wages for the people in our community.”

The Central Corridor Light Rail will also create new opportunities for quality, affordable housing — a change that can already be seen in many areas of the community. “People can see the structures being built and they get amped up because of it,” she said.

The Commissioner believes that new jobs and more housing will have a positive effect on youth in the community. “Making jobs available is key to creating a vibrant home environment,” she said. “We need to work together in order to provide the best for our children.”

One program the Commissioner uses to reach youth is the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative — a systems reform that reduces the number of detained youth in detention centers in Ramsey County. Since 2005, the number of detained youth has decreased by 70 percent. The Commissioner plans to continue building support and spreading the initiative statewide.

Along with her duties as Commissioner of District 4, Carter also serves as chair of the Association of Minnesota Counties Human Services Policy Committee, and of Ramsey County’s Legislative, Human Services and Workforce, and Juvenile Detention Alternatives Stakeholder Committees. Commissioner Carter also serves on the leadership teams of Ramsey County’s Workforce Investment Board, the Saint Paul Children’s Collaborative and the Ramsey County Children’s Mental Health Collaborative.

Brotherhood Inc.

Brotherhood-Inc

Nekima Levy-Pounds at Brotherhood Inc. gathering

The hustle and bustle on University Ave. on a Friday afternoon this summer was nothing compared to the buzz going on inside the Aurora St. Anthony Neighborhood Development Corporation. The office was hosting University of St. Thomas associate law professor Nekima Levy-Pounds and the new local anti-gang initiative she is spearheading in the community.

Levy-Pounds, along with four University of St. Thomas law students and law clinic fellow Artika Tyner, is proposing a center in St. Paul devoted to serving African-American youth. The facility would act as a one-stop shop for social services and business enterprises that keep young people out of gangs. They are calling the initiative, Brotherhood Inc., and are targeting youth who have been involved in gangs or criminal activity who want to make positive changes in their lives.

The project is modeled after Los Angeles-based Homeboy Industries. The St. Paul initiative has named the project Brotherhood, Inc. with “Creating Change, Transforming Lives” as its tagline. Their mission statement is just as enterprising, setting forth the goal “To enable African-American youth and young adults to envision and achieve successful futures.”
Behind the press releases, community meetings and mission statement is a real energy to get things done. UST Law’s Community Justice Project, led by Levy-Pounds, is taking a leading role in making Brotherhood Inc. a reality. Tyner and Levy-Pounds have been moved by the gang activity, educational achievement gap and high incarceration rates that plague African-Americans in St. Paul.

“It has been an awakening for me, and I now have to bring the students along,” Tyner explains. She puts stock in the unique family feel that Brotherhood Inc. is designed to create. After learning about the commitment and connection among the people at Homeboy Industries, Tyner knew the same model could make a huge impact in St. Paul.
Levy-Pounds visited Homeboy Industries in 2007, and came back with a vision of starting something similar in St. Paul. Tyner said Levy-Pounds’s enthusiasm was infectious and got her to start looking at issues in the St. Paul community.

Getting dedicated students from the CJES program was an important part of creating the momentum this project needs to get off the ground.

“We don’t teach students just to ‘think like lawyers,’” Levy-Pounds emphasizes. “I think that is a shallow definition of legal education.”

Tyner and Levy-Pounds use the classroom to get to the bottom of race and class issues that affect disenfranchised youth.

Tyner explains that instead of being overwhelmed into inaction by these large social questions, “with these students, we can change the world.”

ASANDC has been an outspoken supporter of the Brotherhood Inc. project. Executive Director Nieeta Presley says that with focused action from diverse members of the St. Paul community, Brotherhood Inc. can be a reality sooner rather than later.

Sustainable Development Events

Central Corridor light rail station rendering

From St. Paul City Council Member Russ Stark:

I’d like to invite you to an upcoming visit to Saint Paul by Brian Coleman from the Greenpoint Manufacturing and Design Center in Brooklyn, NY. He will be coming to share his experiences and insights on providing space for small manufacturing enterprises, artisans, and artists. GMDC currently owns and manages five rehabilitated properties occupied by more than 100 businesses that employ more than 500 people.

There will be two events on Thursday, November 4, that are open to the public — one a working lunch and the other an evening session.

University United, Public Art Saint Paul, the Saint Paul Port Authority, the Asian Economic Development Association, and the Midway Chamber, and I have put up funds that will be matched by the Central Corridor Funders Collaborative to make this visit possible. The topic to be discussed dovetails with the current efforts of the West Midway Study and Creative Enterprise Zone Study (University and Raymond area), as well as larger city-wide economic development conversations.

For more information and to register for the November 4 lunch, please click here. Please register soon, as space is limited

If you plan to attend the evening session on November 4, please go here for more information and to RSVP.

Thank you for your interest, and I look forward to this upcoming opportunity for dialogue about the Greenpoint model and similar possibilities for our local economy. I hope you can join us.

Questions? Contact:

Samantha Henningson
Councilmember Russ Stark’s Office
Email
(65) 266-8641

U7 Client Winning Community Support

flamingo logo

News from the Neighborhood Development Center: University Avenue Business Collaborative (U7), an initiative of eight local organizations, is helping to strengthen small businesses along University Avenue before, during and after the Central Corridor Light Rail project with free ‘results driven marketing’. One of their clients is Flamingo Restaurant, a small restaurant in St. Paul that opened last January, serving Ethiopian, Eritrean, and Somali food. Flamingo was recently featured on the front page of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

Also, here’s another great article on Flamingo from Twin Cities food blog, The Heavy Table.

Help for Central Corridor Businesses

Photo courtesy of the Metropolitan Council.

Photo courtesy of the Metropolitan Council.

The Northeast Neighbors & Business Association in Minneapolis is offering free assistance to businesses affected by the Central Corridor construction project. The group will provide free advertising through December 2010 on its Local Biz Bucks Online Coupon website for any business located on a construction route or in a construction area. Affected businesses will be allowed to place a static Coupon advertisement on the corresponding geographic page of the website where their business is located (either Southeast Minneapolis | U of M or East Metro). The Northeast Neighbors & Business Association will waive all fees for participating construction-affected businesses. For more information, email or phone the group at (612) 889-9648.

Central Corridor Update

From the Met Council:

The Metropolitan Council has awarded the first heavy construction contract for the Central Corridor light rail transit Project to Walsh Construction to build the seven-mile St. Paul segment of the line. Walsh’s $205.1 million award includes betterment work valued at $10.4 million that was requested by, and will be paid for, by cooperating agencies and utilities.

Construction is expected to begin in August east of the state Capitol on Robert and 12th streets north of Interstate 94, with utility relocation work there expected to start soon after July Fourth. Most of the heavy construction on University Avenue will occur in 2011 between Emerald Street and Hamline Avenue and in 2012 between Hamline and Robert. The work in downtown St. Paul will occur in 2011-2012.

The project is able to begin heavy construction due to advance funding commitments from its partners and federal approval of this arrangement. Under this same arrangement, the project began improvements in May on streets around the East Bank campus of the University of Minnesota and utility relocation work last year on Fourth Street in St. Paul. The FTA has agreed to reimburse the project partners for the federal share of this advanced work once it awards a Full Funding Grant Agreement this fall.

Work on the seven-mile St. Paul segment includes:

  • Relocating utilities necessary for the LRT trackway
  • Constructing nearly seven miles of embedded double track
  • Fully reconstructing streets where track is being installed
  • Building 14 stations from Westgate Station to Union Depot Station
  • Modifying two bridges (on University over Highway 280 and on Cedar Street over Interstates 94 and 35E)
  • Installing concrete paving for signalized intersections
  • Building an infiltration trench for collecting storm water
  • Constructing at-grade pedestrian crossings
  • Demolishing the vacant Bremer Bank building and reconnecting the skyway

Steps to help businesses, property owners

The Central Corridor Project Office has taken steps to eliminate or reduce construction-related impediments to businesses and property owners. These steps include:

  • Limiting construction of each segment on University Avenue to two-thirds at a time while maintaining a lane of traffic on the other third.
  • Requiring contractors to restore the street in front of any business within 150 days and the sidewalk within 15 days.
  • Implementing a contractor incentive program to encourage responsiveness, create a partnership between contractors and the community and promote cooperation. Evaluation criteria will include conformance with notification requirements, timely response to public concerns, maintenance of vehicle access and accessible pedestrian routes and cleanliness of construction sites.
  • Issuing weekly emailed construction updates to provide the public with advance notice of routes that are closed and their alternates. To sign up for the emails, click here.
  • Holding public construction meetings for businesses and the public to get updates and a look ahead from project staff and utilities.
  • Setting up a construction hotline and posting the number, 651-602-1404, in prominent locations throughout a work zone.
  • Assigning multilingual outreach coordinators from the community to be liaisons between the project and the public from the engineering phase through construction.
  • Distributing a brochure to businesses on the corridor and nearby residents about how the project will communicate construction information and how it can be reached with questions and concerns.

About the project

The Central Corridor Light Rail Transit Project will link downtown St. Paul and downtown Minneapolis along Washington and University avenues via the state Capitol and the University of Minnesota. Construction will begin in 2010 on the planned 11-mile Central Corridor line, with service beginning in 2014. The line will connect with the Hiawatha LRT line at the Metrodome station in Minneapolis and the Northstar commuter rail line at the new Target Field Station. The Metropolitan Council will be the grantee of federal funds. The regional government agency is charged with building the line in partnership with the Minnesota Department of Transportation. The Central Corridor Management Committee, which includes commissioners from Ramsey and Hennepin counties, the mayors of St. Paul and Minneapolis and the University of Minnesota, provides advice and oversight.