Projects to encourage economic growth in St. Paul neighborhoods, beautify a vacant lot in the downtown core and even explore bridging a freeway to heal a bisected community were awarded funding by the Knight Foundation in St. Paul on Monday.
The nine projects received more than $640,000 to help create a vibrant, inclusive St. Paul and reflect "a growing recognition that a thriving city is defined and led by its community," foundation officials said.
The idea is to give creative and talented people an incentive to stay in the city and encourage residents to participate in civic life, said Jai Winston, the new Knight Foundation program director in St. Paul.
"The creative energy and appetite for positive change in St. Paul is palpable," Winston said. "These projects aim to tap into this momentum, engaging the community in innovative projects that aim to connect diverse residents and seek their input into programs that will make the city an even better place to live and work."
The projects were announced Monday afternoon during a ceremony to introduce and welcome Winston at the James J. Hill Center near Rice Park. They include:
Other projects receiving funds are intended to keep innovators and entrepreneurs in St. Paul's Creative Enterprise Zone, as well as attract new ones, and connect new residents to local events and programming through an interactive online forum. Another is working to promote the development of a new park in the Hamline Midway neighborhood.
The $642,500 from Knight is part of more than $64 million given to St. Paul community initiatives since 1977.
The James S. and James L. Knight Foundation is a national foundation that invests in journalism, the arts and in the success of cities where the Knight brothers once published newspapers.
For more information, go to knightfoundation.org.
By James Walsh, Star Tribune
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