The Rondo Community Land Bridge is knocking on the door of Minnesota’s prospective future. The restorative effort to reconnect the neighborhood devastated by the construction of I-94 has benefited from a recent convergence of social imperatives—racial equity, transportation justice, addressing climate change, and now Biden’s infrastructure recommendations.
President Joe Biden has proposed that $20 billion be spent helping to restore neighborhoods of color harmed by the creation of the federal highway system through his infrastructure plan.
Since funding for a master plan for a cultural district connected by a community, a land bridge is being considered by the State Legislature, and the prospect for funding its construction at the state and federal levels is moving forward, the project has stepped up to include community outreach and input. The organizers hope that this phase of the project will bring residents up-to-date on the latest developments, and create the opportunity for listening sessions focused on consequential issues surrounding the initiative. Organizers said community input will ultimately help shape the master plan.
The online “listening tour” will kick off May 24, with “Getting reacquainted with ReConnect Rondo” followed by 10 sessions focused on four key topics of interest guided by “restorative and economic development” principles that help to assure security and growth for Rondo residents. The listening tour will culminate with public input sessions on “Your Dreams for the Future of Rondo” on May 27.
The key issues being covered during the topical sessions May 25 and 26 include anti-displacement measures and preventing negative impacts of gentrification; what categories of jobs and businesses should be pursued; how best to support and expand existing Rondo-based businesses; and residents’ vision for creating the vibrant African American Culture and Enterprise District that will be catalyzed by the land bridge and how that cultural district can best reflect the aspirations of Rondo, St. Paul and the state of Minnesota.
Sessions will be held several times throughout the morning, day and evening to accommodate the community’s schedule.
In addition to the public listen and learn and input meetings, ReConnect Rondo is also hosting Community Impact Workshops called “Idea & Solutions” sessions to source ideas from local and national experts and equity organization leaders and develop a framework for community benefits and to design a 4P restorative financing model –people, public, private and philanthropic. These two-part working sessions are scheduled for June 2-3.
View the entire schedule and register for ReConnect Rondo online community input meetings at reconnectrondo.com/engage