St. Paul mayor, community leaders announce initiatives to honor Rondo’s past, present and future

Deed for future community center transferred


St. Paul leaders announce Rondo initiatives. Photo courtesy of Rondo Avenue Inc.
St. Paul leaders announce Rondo initiatives.
Photo courtesy of Rondo Avenue Inc.

On Wednesday, July 9, St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman joined St. Paul City Council Member Dai Thao, Minnesota Historical Society Director Stephen Elliott, Rondo Avenue Inc. Co-Chair Ronald C. Buford, and community leaders to announce key initiatives to honor Saint Paul’s Rondo neighborhood. Gathering at 820 Concordia Street, the future site for the Rondo Community Center, the deed for the property was officially transferred to Rondo Avenue Inc. organization. The group will work to secure funding to create a place to house historical memorabilia and create programming to commemorate African American contributions to Saint Paul.

“When we tell the story of Rondo, we don’t just talk about this neighborhood or one group of people, we’re telling the story of the city of Saint Paul — the history of our city and the vibrancy of our city,” said Mayor Chris Coleman. “We are all honored to be here today to celebrate Rondo, but most importantly by those who keep the story alive.”

A legacy check from the Minnesota Historical Society was also presented to Rondo Avenue Inc. to gather material about social columnist Estyr Peake Bradley, who wrote for African American newspapers in the Twin Cities for much of the 20th century. A book featuring her work will highlight her contributions to the sense of community-building and place-making in Rondo.

“We’ve appreciated the Rondo community’s help in telling its story as a part of the Then, Now, Wow exhibition at the Minnesota History Center,” said Historical Society Director Stephen Elliott. “We’re pleased to support research on Ms. Bradley, who had a remarkable and long career chronicling life and lives, comings and goings.”

The schedule for the annual Rondo Days Festival, which celebrates the community’s diversity, was also unveiled. The July 19 event kicks off at 8 am with the Frank Adams 5k Walk and Run, the Grande Parade at 10 am, and the festival runs from 11 am to 10 pm.

“Through all of these projects, we’re seizing the opportunity to educate and disseminate the history of our neighborhood to the general public, our neighbors and our kids,” said Rondo Avenue, Inc. Board Chair Ronald C. Buford. “We’re really excited to get moving and show off our pride of Rondo.”

“Building reflective and supportive communities is important for creating great places to live,” said Councilmember Dai Thao. “The history of Rondo is a big part of Saint Paul, and I am excited to see these initiatives take off so that we can honor and build on that history together.”


— Information provided by Rondo Avenue Inc.