Posts Tagged ‘ Greater Frogtown CDC ’

Brewing Enterprise

Rondo Cafe rendering

Rondo Cafe rendering by Leetta Douglas

Rondo’s Coffee Café is the name of the new coffee shop that will be making its home in on the first floor of the Frogtown Square project at University and Dale in St. Paul.

The idea of having a coffee shop at this busy corner came from two women who grew up in the neighborhood and now work with Aurora/St. Anthony Neighborhood Development Corporation. Executive Director Nieeta Presley and Board Chair Leetta Douglas also share something else in common: They both love their coffee.

Both women are also highly passionate about their neighborhood and don’t want the history of Rondo to be forgotten. In that hope they are planning to develop the coffee shop as a history lesson for visitors and walk down memory lane for locals. With few coffee shops in the area, the vision of one that the locals can call their own, and a gathering place for the seniors taking up residence in Frogtown Square, seems to make sense.

Helping Presley and Douglas get the shop up and running is Golden Thyme’s owner, Mychael Wright. Golden Thyme is a coffee shop and neighborhood gathering place on Selby Avenue. Wright has the experience and connections they are looking for to get it off the ground. The women are also looking forward to creating a few more jobs in the neighborhood.

Frogtown Square is a mixed-use development, combining commercial and residential spaces for seniors. Greater Frogtown CDC, Model Cities, Neighborhood Development Center and Aurora/Saint Anthony Neighborhood Development Corporation have partnered on the project. The work at this important intersection, including the adjacent Rondo Community Library, has been funded in part by Twin Cities Local Initiatives Support Corporation, which has made a two-decade commitment to the neighborhood.
Fundraising has started for the inside décor for Rondo’s Coffee Café, with the dream of this being a place people come to either learn about Rondo or remember Rondo.

That’s where the organizers need your help. You can name a coffee, decorate a table with old photos, or have photos mounted on the 14-foot walls. The displays will tell the story of how Rondo used to be and bring back sweet memories to those who gather there over a cup of coffee and to reminisce.

“This will be a community coffee shop, and we are working to build community ownership of it,” Presley said.

To find out more about how to get involved with this project, check out Aurora/St. Anthony Neighborhood Development Corporation’s website, or call 651-222-0399, ext. 100.

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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.

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.

FRAN Meeting seeks to focus campaign to raise $8 million

fran-photo

Nieeta Presley discusses fund-raising with Access Philanthropy consultants.

Steve Paprocki spoke clearly when he addressed the Frogtown-Rondo Action Network meeting on April 28. “The time is now for you to come together on a common work plan, work force and work vision to raise $8 million for this community.” A consultant from Access Philanthropy, Paprocki knows what he is talking about.Representatives of nearly a dozen FRAN organizations nodded their heads in agreement. $8 million dollars is the lucky number FRAN aims to raise over the next three years to support its rollout of 11 community-based initiatives to, in its words, “start the next great chapter in Frogtown-Rondo’s history.”

Nieeta Presley, executive director of the Aurora/St. Anthony Neighborhood Development Corporation led the formative meeting. “This is an opportunity for community organizations to interact with each other and create a streamlined plan for raising money and implementing programs,” Presley said.With a line-up of community-building orga- nizations at the plate, the multimillion-dollar goal seems feasible. The ASANDC, Community Stabilization Project, Greater Frogtown CDC, Camphor United Methodist Church, Concordia University, Hmong Business Association/Asian Economic Development Association, Jewish Community Action, Just Equity, Selby Area CDC, University United and the University Avenue Business Association are taking roles that range from educating community members and business owners about managing their finances to advocating for creation of green jobs and energy efficiency.

As the plan moves forward, FRAN will continue to strengthen its network of campaign supporters, community supporters and community capital.

To read more about the work of FRAN and its partner organizations, pick up a copy of the latest Aurora/St. Anthony NDC Newsletter.

— By Jake Kulju

FRAN has a plan

Nieeta Presley of ASANDC

Nieeta Presley of ASANDC

A new initiative led by nine community organizations is focusing on high-impact projects along University Avenue designed to bring prosperity to the people of the neighborhood as state and local governments prepare to build the Central Corridor light rail line. The Frogtown/Rondo Action Network, funded in part by the Local Initiatives Support Corporation, or LISC, and serving an area from Rice Street west to Lexington, and from Thomas south to St. Anthony, is made up of:
•    Aurora/St. Anthony Neighborhood Development Corporation
•    Community Stabilization Project
•    Greater Frogtown Community Development Corporation
•    Hmong Business Association/Asian Economic Development Association
•    Jewish Community Action
•    Just Equity
•    Selby Area Community Development Corporation
•    University Avenue Business Association
•    University United
Although planning for the Central Corridor LRT in Saint Paul includes strategies to mitigate negative  effects of the project on community members and small business owners, the Aurora/St. Anthony Neighborhood Development Corporation is concerned that the project might not be focusing enough on the real needs and issues of the community as expressed by the community members and business owners.
“If the underlying premise is to ‘spur’ economic development, then the building of the LRT must be done right from start to the finish,” said Nieeta Presley, executive director of ASANDC.
FRAN’s goals are to direct resources toward community-based projects already under way that would otherwise be constrained by limited means and abilities. The idea is to have ASANDC, which has been serving the community since the 1980s, to center the coordination efforts in order to aptly prepare, strengthen and help residents and businesses not only survive the Light Rail changes but any changes that present themselves to our community.
LISC has committed three years of support to FRAN and hopes to raise and leverage additional resources both for support and implementation of FRAN projects, which have a total budget of about $7.5 million.
— By Ashanti Austin