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Environment

UMN Resilient Communities Project partners with North St. Paul to advance community sustainability

March 18, 2013

The University of Minnesota’s Resilient Communities Project is pleased to announce that the city of North St. Paul has been selected as its partner community for the 2013–2014 academic year. The partnership will bring the expertise of hundreds of graduate students and the University to sustainability-related projects identified by North St. Paul.

"We look forward to this exciting opportunity," said Nate Ehalt, community development director for North St. Paul. "Our selection as the partner community will build on the city’s 125-year history of sustainability and develop a key partnership that will assist us in identifying practical solutions for the community’s future success."

RCP faculty director and Humphrey School of Public Affairs associate professor Carissa Schively Slotterback, a resident fellow in the university’s Institute on the Environment, noted, "We're very excited about our upcoming partnership with North St. Paul. The enthusiasm of city staff and the diversity of local projects identified will ensure a productive and enjoyable collaboration."

RCP organizes yearlong partnerships between the University of Minnesota and Minnesota communities. Each academic year, RCP chooses a city partner through a competitive request-for-proposal process, helps identify potential projects based on community-identified sustainability issues and needs, and matches the city’s project needs with University of Minnesota courses.

The partnership provides the community with access to students from a wide range of programs and disciplines—from architecture, planning and engineering to business, environmental sciences and the humanities. Through work with RCP, the community is able to enhance its own capacity to advance sustainability. Students who participate in RCP projects benefit from real-world opportunities to apply their knowledge and training and bring energy, enthusiasm and innovative approaches to address local issues.

North St. Paul’s winning proposal was selected from among seven submitted. The proposal identifies 18 projects for which the city would like assistance, including developing live/work housing, revitalizing the city’s downtown, investigating green energy alternatives, creating "living streets," planning community gardens, identifying economic development strategies, designing civic engagement initiatives, crafting an environmental education program and creating a public art plan. Staff from RCP and North St. Paul will begin working this spring to define the scope of the projects and match them with courses offered at the U of M in fall 2013 and spring 2014. RCP program manager Mike Greco will administer the partnership on behalf of the university, and North St. Paul community development director Nate Ehalt will coordinate the city’s participation in the program.

RCP is an initiative of the Sustainability Faculty Network at the University of Minnesota, with funding and administrative support provided by the Center for Urban and Regional Affairs and the Institute on the Environment. To learn more, visit rcp.umn.edu.

About the Center for Urban and Regional Affairs
The University of Minnesota’s Center for Urban and Regional Affairs (CURA) connects the resources of the University of Minnesota with the interests and needs of urban communities and the region. CURA pursues its urban and regional mission by facilitating and supporting connections between state and local governments, neighborhoods, and nonprofit organizations, and relevant resources at the university, including faculty and students from appropriate campuses, colleges, centers or departments. Learn more at www.cura.umn.edu.

About the Institute on the Environment
The University of Minnesota's Institute on the Environment discovers solutions to Earth’s most pressing environmental problems by conducting transformative research, developing the next generation of global leaders and building world-changing partnerships. Learn more at www.environment.umn.edu.

About North St. Paul
North St. Paul is a town of 3.1 square miles with a six-block-long main street. A small industrial village turned first-ring suburb, North St. Paul embraces its small-town feel but also recognizes it is part of a larger region. With 125 years of history, North St. Paul is a tight-knit community with bonds to the town atmosphere, its neighbors and their shared past. It is also a town that looks to the future, embracing technology and seeking new ways to capture the next wave of innovation and ingenuity to propel the community forward. Learn more at www.northstpaul.net.

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