BY NANCY FERBER
First of all, a big thank you to everyone who came out to our fall 2013 Open House in North St. Paul on October 17th. What a great turn out! We were very excited to see so many residents, families, business owners, City staff and interested folks stop by and have conversations with RCP students faculty. Part of the mission of the Resilient Communities Project (RCP) is to facilitate these conversations, offering a chance for interaction around key community priorities and sustainable and resilient solutions. The integration of the knowledge of community members, students, and faculty ensures that the project outcomes will be relevant and have the potential for long-lasting impacts.
The open house was designed as an opportunity for community members in North St. Paul to learn about projects underway, as well as chance for students to solicit some feedback relative to their work for these projects. Information about some of the 2013-2014 projects was displayed on posters around the room. About half of the 21 projects proposed by the City of North St. Paul have been matched with University of Minnesota courses this semester. Most of the remaining projects will be linked to courses coming up in the spring term. One of the projects that received the most interest from attendees was the Emerald Ash Borer project. Students in the FR 4501/5501 Urban Forestry – Biology and Management course will work on an Emerald Ash Borer Management Plan, so please stay tuned!
Deb Lawton’s GDES 3352 Identity and Symbols class had their graphic design work on display and handed out surveys to vote on a new city logo. The logos are informed by students’ research on community priorities and identities and a few incorporate the iconic North St. Paul snowman. The students are still soliciting feedback on their designs. It’s not too late to send them your thoughts and pick your favorite logos!
Students in Bob Streetar’s PA 5511 Community Economic Development course also soliciting comments. Students asked North St. Paul community members what they liked the most about the retail environment in North St Paul, as well as what might be lacking and one word they would use to describe the City. Ideas were posted up on the wall and will be prioritized and incorporated into a report on Downtown Revitalization Strategies.
A big thank you to the folks who helped make this event a success! Thanks to residents who came out to meet students, the Community Center for donating 2 memberships to the fitness center for our raffle and providing a great venue. Thanks also to North St. Paul staff for logistical support and spreading the word about this great event. It’s exciting to see this projects underway, and there are lots of great findings and research to come!
Nancy Ferber is a program assistant with the Resilient Communities Project and graduate student in the Urban and Regional Planning Program at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota