MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The new state budget passed on Wednesday included funds to help the redevelopment of a Twin Cities neighborhood.
The Rondo neighborhood in St. Paul was a thriving historically Black neighborhood full of homes and Black-owned businesses. It was in its prime in the 1950s, when the state began expanding Interstate 94 through the neighborhood, displacing 61% of its residents and destroying 300 businesses.
“Putting a freeway through a community, a person wakes up and that person has lost their sense of the world,” said Marvin Anderson, who launched a program called ReConnect Rondo. “Their ecosystem has been destroyed. We call it ‘root shock.'”
For years, the ReConnect Rondo effort has been striving to rejoin the neighborhood with a land bridge. The plan will now likely move forward, after the state allocated $6.2 million to start the process.
The bridge would cap I-94 for several blocks, offering green space, cultural retail, food opportunities, and health resources. It would also include housing and jobs to support the neighbors of Rondo.
Keith Baker, who is in charge of ReConnect Rondo, called it an opportunity to “uplift, and to be a vehicle for better life for people.”
“Literally and figuratively trying to connect the community, not only by a physical structure, but also really the spirit, lifting up the spirit of the community and hopefulness into the future,” he added.
For more information on the ReConnect Rondo project, click here.