Last week, community partners from neighborhoods surrounding Allianz Field in St. Paul launched the Neighbors United Funding Collaborative (NUFC), a community benefits fund designed to support area residents, businesses, and organizations as the stadium superblock development moves forward.
Now, they’re asking for area residents and businesses to get involved.
“Our goal from the beginning was to make sure the community had a seat at the table,” Ward 1 Councilmember Dai Thao explained.
“We’ve heard loud and clear that neighbors want to support local, POCI- and immigrant-owned businesses and longtime residents that have called this area home, and this fund aims to be one of many tools that can help us do that,” added Councilmember Mitra Jalali Nelson, who represents Ward 4 including the Midway neighborhood on the St. Paul City Council.
The NUFC has been shaped over time by community representatives from the Community Benefits Fund Task Force laid out in a 2016 City Council resolution authored by Thao.
Over the last year, the task force gathered thoughts, ideas, and aspirations for the creation of this community benefits fund and what it might support, including nearly 900 neighborhood comments during initial outreach.
Focusing on preventing commercial displacement and supporting small and immigrant/POCI-owned businesses was a priority for just over half of the commenters (478). Other categories like placemaking, beautification, public art, and public health through sanitation were a priority for just under half of the comments (402).
“We’re excited to help make investments in the neighborhood that match the vision laid out in these community conversations,” said Brandon Long, executive director of Union Park District Council.
The goal is to have advisory committee members in place by the start of the new year to get work underway. All community members interested in serving on the NUFC committee should complete a short online at bit.ly/NUFCForm. Applications are due by Dec. 3.