All aboard the Knight Green Line Challenge

Photo: St. Paul’s new Green Line. Credit: Jonathan Pellgen on Flickr.

Today marks the final day of the 2014 Knight Green Line Challenge. We’re accepting applications until midnight tonight.

Thanks to everyone who already applied and to those of you putting the last touches on your applications. The response to the challenge has been tremendous; we’ve seen such enthusiasm at the Q&A sessions and partner events, in phone calls and visits to, and through the applications themselves. We have been gratified by how many people are eager to find ways to make St. Paul’s Central Corridor neighborhoods along the Green Line even more vibrant places to live, work, play and visit.

After the challenge closes tonight we will share the applications with a terrific team of community readers who will make recommendations to Knight and The Saint Paul Foundation, which administers the challenge. On Aug. 26, we will notify all the applicants and announce the finalists, who will be asked to submit more details about their projects. Stay tuned for that big news.

As we end the application period, I want to thank the many partners who made our outreach such a success. We enlisted community partners to ensure the word got out about the challenge to a wide and diverse array of individuals, nonprofits, businesses and public agencies. These fabulous community partners promoted the challenge at their own events, hosted events with Knight, promoted it through social media and encouraged their varied constituents to apply. They helped think through project ideas and even helped guide folks through the application process. Most of them braved unrelenting rain and straight-line winds to distribute postcards about the challenge on the Green Line’s opening day. Basically, heroic efforts on all their parts, so a huge thank you goes to:

Asian Economic Development Association, African Economic Development Solutions, Aurora Saint Anthony Neighborhood Development Corp., District Councils Collaborative, E-Democracy, Midway Chamber of Commerce, Neighborhood Development Center, St. Anthony Park Community Council, Springboard for the Arts and St. Paul Smart Trips.

I also want to say thank you and good-bye to Mai Vang, Knight’s delightful summer intern here in St. Paul. She has been helping us especially with outreach and social media, laughing at my jokes and generally ensuring the challenge runs smoothly. She finishes up at Augsburg College this fall and is a talented photographer and videographer committed to bettering St. Paul. Check out this charming quick video she did about her internship.

And while we are closing the challenge tonight, please note that many other great things are happening along the Green Line this summer. I am especially excited about the C4wards: Arts and Culture Along the Green Line. These free special events explore and celebrate the diversity of the Twin Cities. Upcoming events include: 

• July 26: Little Mekong • Aug. 9: Rondo/Creative Frogtown • Aug. 23: Little Africa • Sept. 6: Creative Enterprise Zone • Sept. 20: Prospect Park • Oct. 4: West Bank

Also enjoy this interactive audio tour of Green Line art, offered by Metro Transit and Minnesota Public Radio.

It’s been exciting to embark on this journey.  The Knight Green Line Challenge is a three-year, $1.5 million commitment from Knight to advance community building in the Central Corridor. Thank you again for coming along with us. All of us look forward to seeing where it takes our community here in St. Paul.

Polly M. Talen is St. Paul program director at Knight Foundation.