Posts Tagged ‘ University United ’

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
(65) 266-8641


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

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.

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


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