St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman announced in June that the city won one of the four grants being offered municipalities by the Ford Foundation. St. Paul’s grant is for development planning around the Central Corridor light rail line. Coleman said that the Central Corridor represents a “$1 billion investment opportunity that will forever change the face of St. Paul.”
He announced that the Environmental Simulation Center, Inc. chose the communities of Rondo and Frogtown to be a part of their Urban Planning Project, a national study funded by the Ford Foundation. A coalition of organizations has formed to help with the program’s study and execution. They include the Greater Frogtown Community Development Corporation, located at 535 North Dale Street where a ‘Community Change Center’ is to be established. Additional members include Aurora St. Anthony Neighborhood Development Corporation, District 7/Summit-University, University UNITED/U-PLAN and the City of Saint Paul.
A number of maps and graphics pertaining to the Frogtown/Rondo project are posted at www.frogtownrondo.org.
The Environmental Simulation Center labels the Central Corridor expansion as a Human Development Overlay District or HDOD. The St. Paul HDOD impacts the neighborhoods of Aurora-St. Anthony, Frogtown, Merriam Park, Midway, Thomas-Dale and Summit-University.
The Environmental Simulation Center is funding other pilot projects around the country in Boston, Los Angeles, and Astoria, Oregon. St. Paul’s project proposes to demonstrate sophisticated planning, utilize tools such as GIS mapping, and perform data gathering as well as architectural visioning, also known as meta-modeling.
“(The) Central Corridor will bring change to the businesses and residents currently in the neighborhoods along the corridor,” said Brian McMahon on behalf of the Frogtown Rondo Partnership. “The grant will provide us the tools to link the resources to those people and business owners who should benefit from the changes this amazing project will bring,”
Rachel Dykoski lives and writes in the Whittier neighborhood in Minneapolis.