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Eight community-driven projects get a boost with grants from the University of Minnesota Good Neighbor Fund

Friday, July 19, 2013

New trees will line Cleveland Avenue in Falcon Heights, the main thoroughfare between the city and the University of Minnesota's campus in St. Paul, through one of eight projects sharing $48,000 in grant funding from the University’s Good Neighbor Fund endowment in 2013.

The purpose of the Good Neighbor Fund is to "enhance the beauty, serenity and security" of the communities adjacent to the University's Twin Cities campus. In six years of fund operations, 41 community projects have been awarded more than $250,000 in grant support. The fund was created in 2007 with an initial investment of $1.5 million when the State of Minnesota committed funding to construct TCF Bank Stadium on the University’s campus in Minneapolis.

According to Russom Solomon, chair of the West Bank Safety Committee, funds for one of this year's projects will help many West Bank residents learn safety tips for the first time, and help others enhance their safety skills. "As we learn to live, work, play and pray near one another, we need opportunities to learn how to create and preserve a safe community by knowing good personal safety tips and techniques," Solomon said.

The Good Neighbor Fund will support the following projects in 2013:

  • West Bank Improvement District Youth Ambassador Project Safety – West Bank Business Association: Youth in the West Bank/Cedar-Riverside area will use funds to beautify their neighborhood through graffiti clean-up, mural creation and other projects to improve the physical conditions of the area. The project will also help create a welcoming and safe environment for those living, working and visiting the neighborhood. It is managed by staff at the Brian Coyle Center.
  • Multi-Lingual Community Education on Safety – West Bank Business Association: Funds will support safety trainings and the purchase of translation equipment.
  • Faces of Cedar-Riverside – West Bank Business Association: Funds will help reconstruct an outdoor patio on the Cedar Cultural Center's property and adjacent space, located at 5th Street and Cedar Avenue. The renovated space will be used for performances, arts activities and community gatherings.
  • Cleveland Ave. Beautification Project – City of Falcon Heights: Funds will go to the planting and maintenance of trees along Cleveland Ave., a main thoroughfare between the community and the University's St. Paul campus.
  • Spring Together at Curtiss Field – City of Falcon Heights: Funds will be utilized to celebrate the city's multicultural citizens and help create a welcoming environment for all in the neighborhood.
  • Box Fresh – Marcy-Holmes Neighborhood: As part of a pilot project, volunteers will wrap utility boxes with specially designed vinyl coverings along main corridors in the neighborhood to create an "outdoor gallery." These unique works of art will help enliven the streetscape.
  • Como Corner Fence – Southeast Como Neighborhood: Funds will help support the installation of a corner fence along a popular community garden space.
  • Southeast Como Improvement Association Community Building Committee: Funds will support a variety of events that celebrate diversity and build relationships to work together in the Southeast Como neighborhood.

Grant applications for 2014 will be solicited beginning in September 2013, with applications due in February 2014. Organizations represented on the Stadium Area Advisory Group, including municipalities, neighborhoods and business districts adjacent to the University, are eligible to apply.

For more information, visit community.umn.edu/gnf or email Jan Morlock, University of Minnesota Office of Government and Community Relations, jam@umn.edu.

Twin Cities Campus: