Communities

Get ready to click ‘apply’ for the Knight Green Line Challenge

The St. Paul Green Line. Photo (cc) by Michael Hicks via Flickr.

After years of planning and construction, it’s thrilling to see the new Green Line trains flowing smoothly and carrying thousands of people to locations between the downtowns of Saint Paul and Minneapolis. It’s equally thrilling to see people connect to and explore the many diverse neighborhoods along the new 11-mile light rail route.

Now, Knight Foundation is pondering what would make these Central Corridor neighborhoods in St. Paul even more vibrant places to live, work, play and visit? That’s the question at the heart of the Knight Green Line Challenge, which begins accepting applications Tuesday, June 24. Applicants have until July 24 to submit their project idea. Finalists will be notified no later than Aug. 26, 2014, with winners announced in October 2014.

Any individual, business or nonprofit can apply. The only requirement is that the project must take place in and benefit at least one of six St. Paul neighborhoods along the Green Line: Downtown St. Paul, Frogtown/Thomas-Dale, Hamline Midway, St. Anthony Park, Summit-University or Union Park.

The challenge is part of a three-year, $1.5 million commitment from Knight Foundation to further advance community development in St. Paul’s Central Corridor. The Saint Paul Foundation is administering the challenge in collaboration with Knight Foundation.

At Knight Foundation, we are continually looking at what we can do to engage people in making their communities great—not just good—places to live, work and play. Just days after the Green Line began operation, eight city of St. Paul employees from planning, parks and public works and seven other nonprofit leaders traveled to Chicago for the Knight-sponsored “8-80 Cities Forum: The Doable City,” a gathering of civic leaders. These folks spent three days in Chicago discussing ways to make cities more vibrant places where people can walk, bike, access transit and enjoy parks and other public spaces. The forum focused on devising solutions to community challenges that produce immediate results by putting civic innovation in motion.

We believe the Knight Green Line Challenge is a great way to engage our communities in making St. Paul one of the most interesting and vibrant cities in our country. We are looking for a broad range of project ideas and to that end will host four community Q&A sessions over the next two weeks where Knight Foundation staff will be on hand to answer questions about applying for the challenge:

The Dubliner Pub 2162 University Ave. W, St. Paul June 25, 8:30 a.m.

Hamline Midway Library 1558 W Minnehaha Ave., St. Paul June 30, 5 p.m.

Rondo Community Outreach Library 461 N Dale St., St. Paul July 8, 6 p.m.

Bedlam Lowertown 213 E Fourth St., St. Paul July 10, 5 p.m.

The public Q&A sessions are free, but reservations are encouraged.

We also are working with a broad array of community partners to spread the word about the challenge. Our thanks to these groups for their work in engaging a diverse array of potential applicants: African Economic Development Solutions, Asian Economic Development Association, Aurora St. 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.

We can’t wait to see what this challenge inspires in this rich, diverse and engaged community. While you have until July 24 to submit your application, applicants who apply by July 11 will be entered into a raffle for a free monthly MetroTransit pass to explore the neighborhoods along the Green Line.

So, dream away, check out the details at knightgreenlinechallenge.org, and click “apply.”