Central Corridor Light Rail makes progress to strengthen community opportunities

St. Paul is on the national radar this week as The Central Corridor Funders Collaborative’s annual stakeholder event made the HUD Office of Sustainable Housing and Communities update.

The collaborative is a group of local and national funders that strongly support the Central Corridor Light Rail Line that will connect Minneapolis and St. Paul because it offers opportunities to strengthen the regional economy and makes the neighborhoods adjacent to it better places to live, work and access opportunity.

An excerpt from the HUD update notes:

“In the Twin Cities the HUD team joined a gathering of 200 community leaders and foundations to celebrate the progress of the Central Corridor Funders Collaborative. Mayors Coleman and Rybak joined Sue Haigh, chair of the Met Council, a HUD regional grantee, to spotlight efforts to support local businesses and create strong neighborhoods throughout the corridor.”

As the Central Corridor light rail project moves closer to completion, the Corridor’s “beyond the rail” initiatives are beginning to take shape and are transforming into action.  This was reinforced by presentations during the event from working groups that focused on issues like affordable housing, business development, contractor and workforce inclusion, a public/private investment framework and job access.

The 2012 Progress Beyond the Rail report, which focuses on how trends are taking shape, is available online. The Central Corridor light rail is now halfway complete, a milestone covered earlier this week by CBS Minnesota, and the Star Tribune. The project is scheduled to be completed and fully operational by 2014.

Knight Foundation is a lead suporter of the Central Corridor Funders Collaborative. The collaborative supplements the programs and investment of its member foundations by supporting the multi-sector working groups to work strategically toward achieving the outcomes expressed in our shared vision for the Central Corridor.  We believe that better results come when the people and institutions affected by an issue work together to build shared solutions.

By Polly M. Talen, program director/St. Paul at Knight Foundation