Posts Tagged ‘ Summit-University ’

Summer of Peace

At peace pole

Community elder, Ms. Bertha Givins, and Dan Kravetz, who came up with the idea for Summer of Peace two years ago.

For the third straight year, the Aurora/St. Anthony Neighborhood Development Corporation, partnering with the Summit-University Planning Council and District 7 Planning Council, co-hosted The Summer of Peace celebration, a series of events that was the brain child of former ASANDC staffer Dan Kravetz. This “traveling block party” with events happening each Thursday, provided an opportunity for neighbors to get to know each other and participate in activities benefitting the entire community. Thursday events included clean-up efforts, community gardening, live entertainment, cook-outs and the general spreading of goodwill and summer cheer.

We spoke with Irna Landrum, Executive Director of the Summit-University Planning Council, who shared some highlights from the Summer of Peace.

How did it go? It seemed like there was such a good feel to the events.

It definitely was a success, bigger than what we had done before, a bit overwhelming, but it went very well. We tried to do it a little differently, in the past it was more about getting out, seeing people and giving them information — more of a here’s where you go, here’s what you do, the food is over there kind of thing. We wanted it to be more interactive and thought it would be more successful if people could contribute and be engaged.

What were some of your favorite events?

The kickoff event was phenomenal. It was held on a vacant lot on Victoria and Concordia that had an interesting story: On that corner was a really dilapidated home. The neighbors wanted to buy and rehab it but that didn’t work out and the home was demolished. But they were able to buy the lot and wanted it to be an asset to the community. So we held the kickoff event there and did a peace pole planting and worked with a landscape designer, neighbors brought seeds and plantlings and we did a small vegetable garden right in the middle of the lot. Police officers, political candidates from the district, and lots and lots of neighbors came out to the party. It was just so awesome. The owners wanted everyone involved and asked for ideas about what could be done with the lot — they made a list: What I like to see is… and people voted.
Another great event was the forum in July with candidates from the Minnesota House of Representatives District 65A. When people start talking about politics it is easy to discount this neighborhood — people don’t turn out to vote — it seems easy to count out a community like ours. But that night we set out 50 chairs and we had to get more — nearly 60 people came out to ask the candidates questions. That was really rewarding

Also, we had a block party on Fuller Avenue at Chatsworth and Milton. We work with a group called Hearts and Hammers who help elderly and disabled homeowners rehab their houses. At that point Hearts and Hammers had done five houses on that block — now it’s up to seven.

How rewarding to see all that progress in one place.

It really was. And there was one event that just SWELLED. It started with an idea — our community organizer met this neighbor who drums, he plays the bongos and congas, and she asked if he would lead a drum circle. He said sure and then spread the word to his friends. It turned into multiple drummers, a stage and sound systems, it became a little block concert. It was a bit overwhelming, but all the neighbors had so much fun. And the original neighbor said he needed some work done on his house, and I handed him a Hearts and Hammers brochure and they ended up doing work on his house. It all fits together.

What do you see for the future? I mean after you rest up from this!

There are three community gardens all along Victoria Street in several different neighborhoods. We want to see what kind of community identity we can build along Victoria. It seems like some of the physical barriers are really big psychological barriers — the neighborhoods are very different, but it will be good to focus on what we have in common.

It seems we need a fresh perspective, it is easy to say, “Here are the challenges and difficulties,” but it is good to hear a fresh perspective of, “This is what’s beautiful!”

Bethel in the Neighborhood

Photo courtesy of Bethel University

Bethel University has been partnering with the Frogtown/Summit-University area of St. Paul for 12 years, providing early childhood education through a Bethel-owned preschool, offering tutoring and mentoring at Frogtown/Summit-U sites, sending students on service learning assignments, and even offering courses in the area through Bethel’s College of Adult & Professional Studies. This summer, 7 Bethel College of Arts & Sciences students are spending 12 weeks serving in Frogtown/Summit-U. Read about them and their works in the community on Bethel’s News & Events page.

Join Us Tonight on National Night Out

Join your neighbors at a National Night Out celebration tonight! Many events will have free food and all will provide an opportunity to continue strengthening our community connections. You won’t want to miss out!

Stop by a National Night Out event in the Summit-University area:

  • 790 block Summit (House of Hope btwn Grotto & Avon), 5-9 p.m.
  • 270 N. Kent (Hallie Q Brown Community Center), 5:30-7 p.m
  • Freeport West Youth Center (Selby btwn Milton & Victoria), 5-7 p.m.
  • 400 block Laurel (btwn Western & Arundel), 4-9 p.m.
  • 3100 block Pleasant (Irvine Pl./Pleasant/Ramsey), 6-9 p.m.
  • 470 block University (btwn Mackubin & Arundel), 4:00 p.m.
  • 981 Marshall (First Trinity Church), 6:30 p.m.
  • 870 block of Hague (btwn Milton & Victoria), 5:30 p.m.
  • Parking lot at Selby/Milton (btwn Selby & Hague), 5:00 p.m.
  • Victoria & Aurora (Peace Garden), 1:30-4 p.m.
  • 300 block of Aurora (btwn Farrington & Galtier), 5-7 p.m.
  • Carty Park (Carroll btwn Grotto & St Albans), 5:30 p.m.
  • 1247 St Anthony (Skyline Towers), 4-6 p.m.
  • 1120 block of Dayton (btwn Dunlap & Lexington), 6-8 p.m.

Help Wanted

LISC’s AmeriCorps program seeks to attract talented individuals to serve for one year to help build organizational capacity. LISC is seeking an AmeriCorps member to work with the Aurora St. Anthony Neighborhood Development Corporation. ASANDC, established in 1980, aims to address neighborhood quality of life issues, advocacy, organizing and community economic and housing development in St. Paul’s Ward One neighborhoods of Aurora St. Anthony, Summit-University and Frogtown.

The AmeriCorps member working with the Aurora St. Anthony Neighborhood Development Corporation (ASANDC) will serve as a Program Assistant and will work on a variety of initiatives and projects, including:

  • Developing resident leaders through ASANDC’s Power of One Plus One Program (PO1+1), a program that aims to increase the level of engagement of community residents. The program provides training to residents and helps them develop the necessary skills, knowledge, ability and power to decide the direction of their neighborhood.
  • Assisting with the project management of the Frogtown Rondo Action Network, a collaborative of 10 non-profit organizations working to ensure that community residents in the Old Rondo and Frogtown neighborhoods achieve long-term stability and well-being. In this role, the AmeriCorps member will support the development and implementation of specific strategies identified by FRAN; participate in community meetings, events and other public forums; and maintain cooperation and participation with collaborating groups.
  • Other duties as assigned.

See the full job description for more details. Applications are due August 8, 2010.

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