Posts Tagged ‘ University Avenue Business Association ’

Capturing the Corridor

Wing Young Huie

Wing Young Huie

Surrounded by a panorama of black and white photographs in his Franklin Avenue studio, Wing Young Huie is the portrait of a photographer. Cameras and lenses cover his desk, a large wooden work table has countless pictures, open photography books and quotes written on small pieces of paper arranged in a kind of ordered chaos that is the early soup of Huie’s University Avenue Project.

The internationally renowned photographer is scheduled to debut his work in May of 2010, along the Central Corridor. Huie is working in collaboration with Public Art Saint Paul to create a 6-mile public art gallery along University Avenue. Photographs will be displayed in shop windows, on the sides of buildings and projected on an outdoor screen. More than 500 photographs will be on display, transforming the Central Corridor into an exploratory visual experience that plumbs the depths of University Avenue’s complex cultural and socioeconomic diversity.

Among the community organizations that support this project are University United and the University Avenue Business Association. The exhibit will run for six months, from May through October of this year.

To read more about Wing Young Huie and the University Avenue Project, pick up the spring edition of the Aurora/St. Anthony newsletter.

Photo collage

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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: linda@universityavenuebiz.com or 651.641.0334

UABA, AEDA, University United and U-Plan Move in Together

Community members turned out for opening of new center.

Community members turned out for opening of new center.

By Jake Kulju

September 22, 2009 may have seemed like any other day, but on University Avenue, it was a day of celebration. Hundreds of people gathered for free food, entertainment and speeches from local politicians, including a welcome from mayor Chris Coleman, at the new Community Solutions Center at 712 University Ave.

The event marked the grand opening of the center, a joint effort of the University Avenue Business Association (UABA), the Asian Economic Development Association (AEDA), University UNITED and U-Plan.

The open house was held from 3 to 6 p.m., with a welcome by the mayor and program beginning at 4:30 p.m. Special guests included City Council members Russ Stark and Melvin Carter III, County Commissioners Toni Carter and Janice Rettman, state Reps. Alice Hausman, Erin Murphy, Phyllis Kahn and Cy Thao and state Sens. Mee Moua and Dick Cohen.

Several large tents spanned the parking area in front of the new Community Solutions Center, covering tables full of free food from local businesses. Food and beverages were provided by Abundant  Catering, China One, Chindian, Mai Village, Ngon Vietnamese Bistro, Saigon Restaurant, Shuang Hur Supermarket and SugaRush.

The grand opening of the center was sponsored by US Bank, Update Company, Impressive Print, Lao Family Community and Lifetrack Resources.

City Councilman Russ Stark, right, speaks with a constituent at the grand opening.

City Councilman Russ Stark, right, speaks with a constituent at the grand opening.

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

UABA determined to be heard as LRT plans move forward

The Met Council’s Joey Browner and Ax-Man owner Jim Segal discuss business issues along the Central Corridor.

The Met Council’s Joey Browner and Ax-Man owner Jim Segal discuss business issues along the Central Corridor.

Jim Segal knows how important University Avenue is. Owner and CEO of the Ax-Man surplus store, his livelihood comes from the avenue.
“I’d like to keep growing the business … and to make it as sustainable as possible,” Segal says.
Thousands of Twin Cities residents no doubt feel the same way. The Ax-Man has been in business for more than 40 years, offering quirky, rare and just plain weird surplus items to shoppers all over the state. The locally famous shop gives University Avenue much of its unique flavor.
But Segal and other University Avenue business owners are worried about challenges that the proposed Central Corridor Light Rail Transit project might pose to small businesses. A member of the University Avenue Business Association steering committee, Segal and others have been organizing to get their voices heard.
“With the bad economy on top of the fact that we have to deal with the construction, I just want to make [the construction period] the best bad situation possible,” Segal says. “Someone needs to start real solutions.” In an effort to do just that, UABA recently hired a consultant to conduct a peer city study of other rail projects around the nation. The study found alarming statistics about the effects of lengthy construction projects along business-heavy avenues.
UABA is seeking support through community channels, meetings with the Metropolitan Council and with local, regional and statewide elected officials.
“I think that the elected officials are really listening to us,” Segal says with optimism. “[UABA] creates a good forum where a group of people with the same relative interests can share ideas and voice their opinions in one place instead of the elected people dealing with 100 different people. We can amass the main issues of the group and put them forward, which gives credibility to the issues.”
One thing UABA isn’t doing is considering legal action.
“We don’t intend to put the financial resources into legal action — and let me be clear. We don’t intend to stop light rail,” said Segal. “We are concerned about the construction and development issues. We know our business is going to be severely impacted.”

— 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