FREE SPEECH ZONE | Aurora St. Anthony Development Corporation

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In St. Paul, the growth of the community and real-estate development and vitalization of the neighborhood is helped by the St. Anthony Aurora Development Corporation (A.S.A.ND.C.). The Executive Director, Nieeta Presley a life long resident of St. Paul, talked about the accomplishments of the organization since she started with the organization in 2004, The organization started in 1977 by Ron Pauline as a Block Club. She started talking with much optimism for the community by looking to the future of the Neighborhood Stabilization Program, made possible by the stimulus program funds that President Barack Obama is now in charge of.

Presley also shared a new plan slated for the northeast corner of University and Dale Street, where construction begins this summer (2009) that will build 20,000 square feet of commercial space and above that will be affordable senior housing. From the model picture it’s a long 4 story building, with numerous store fronts with awnings and that will replace the current structure that was a small, former police sub station, an old neighborhood bar and was the site of the former and quite controversial Belmont Club ( A former strip joint with a sordid character), The interim uses for the corner will be soon gone forever and a new structure will bring much needed revenue to the city, add an brighter image of the future, bring the corner to its highest and best use, and provide a place of dignity for the elderly to live.

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The ASANDC was also directly instrumental along with a private developer, in the development of the affordable housing project that sits on top of the Rondo Community Library also at University and Dale Street. That housing unit Presley said “have 98 units” and was much needed in St. Paul”.

“She” said “there’s an ongoing need to be a voice for the area and the community members”. “Presley said” “The organization offers another way to help aspiring community members to own a home”. They rehabilitate older homes they’ve purchased. Then, put one into the Home Stretch Program. “The Home Stretch Program was created and that program offers an entry to home ownership”. Presley explained “that a contract for deed is provided to a prospective buyer. (This is a way to by-pass the usual stringent qualifying process), and is offered to those who qualified as first time homeowners, (Anyone who has not owned a home in the last (3) yrs. qualifies as a first time home owner). thus giving them an opportunity to enter the program and provides an avenue for one to have the time build ones’ credit score while actually owning a home and homesteading it to get the tax write off. With this, one can gain actual credit points to qualify at a bank when the contract period ends. Presley said that “in addition, the program participant must attend a schedule of classes that are designed to educate and prepare them for throughout the contract period for home ownership.

While on the road to a closing date is set. Contact the ASANDC for the criteria. That program has helped predominantly African American women thus far. Presley also told me of yet another program that allows one to own a home. This option allows one to rent for a period of time and upgrade their track record following of paying rent for the period of 2 yrs., (2) Yrs. On the job, and (2)Yrs., of credit review. Those aspects of the Uniform Residential Loan Application (1004) form, the 2-2-2 rule are part of the criteria that the bank looks for when one applies for credit.

These programs she said are great for couples, married or not. The ASANDC also offers: The Power of One Plus One, a program that offers leader development to youth in the community. This part of the ASANDC focuses on helping program participants developing Black Clubs, Pursuing political engagements, Community Gardens, This program is managed by Daniel Kravetz who can be reached at the ASANDC.

The ASANDC wanted to serve all ages in the community and developed an outreach involving seniors called the “Age Ain’t Nothing But A Number”, to meet their needs, so, complete with a senior committee selected from the area to have their input and give a voice to that sector. Dennis Presley is the project coordinator for that effort. To reach Nieeta Presley and other staff members call 651-222-0399 or nieeta@aurorastanthony.org , or stop in at 774 W. University in St. Paul.

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