Knight Green Line Challenge Names Finalists


27 organizations and individuals selected as frontrunners in call for ideas that taps into potential of Green Line in St. Paul

ST. PAUL, MINN. – August 11, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation today announced 27 finalists in the Knight Green Line Challenge, which asked for innovative ideas that tap into the potential of the Green Line to make surrounding neighborhoods in St. Paul more vibrant places to live and work.

The finalists proposed ideas ranging from a new weekend market for African immigrant entrepreneurs to resident-led neighborhood tours, from a moveable cinema that pops up in public spaces along the Green Line to parklets that engage people in community design. The 27 finalists were chosen from a pool of 358 applicants. A panel of community readers and Knight representatives from diverse backgrounds participated in the selection process.

“We were pleased to receive so many applications from innovators of all kinds,” said George Abbott, Knight Foundation interim program director for St. Paul. “It’s a demonstration of the passion that the people of St. Paul have for their city.”

The list of finalists is below and at Winners, who will share in $500,000, will be announced in late September.

Open to any individual, business, nonprofit or public entity, the Knight Green Line Challenge is a three-year, $1.5 million commitment from Knight Foundation to continue growth in St. Paul’s Central Corridor. The Saint Paul Foundation is administering the challenge.

Proposed projects 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. They should also tap into the potential of the Green Line to create impact in one or more of three key areas: 1) exciting current residents and attracting newcomers to the Central Corridor; 2) expanding economic opportunity and breaking down divides; 3) strengthening a culture of civic engagement.

The Knight Green Line Challenge is part of Knight Foundation’s efforts in St. Paul to attract and keep talented people, expand economic opportunity and create a culture of engagement. Knight has provided more than $64 million in support to the St. Paul community since 1977. In January 2014 Knight also announced major new funding for the arts in St. Paul, including an expansion of the Knight Arts Challenge. Knight will also launch the second year of its Knight Cities Challenge this fall calling for ideas that make the 26 cities where Knight invests, including St. Paul, more successful.

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and

About the Saint Paul Foundation
Since 1940, thousands of generous individuals committed to the Saint Paul area have made charitable gifts to The Saint Paul Foundation. Today, the Foundation is the state’s largest community foundation. Guided by the legacy of its earliest donors, the Foundation helps donors achieve their charitable giving goals and have long-lasting impact in the community. The Foundation is an affiliate of Minnesota Philanthropy Partners. Learn more at and

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Knight Green Line Challenge Finalists 2015

Block by Block (8-80 Cities)

To work with community leaders in six Green Line neighborhoods to host block parties that will help build community connections and rethink public space.

Bridging the Gap: Connecting the Green Line to the Greenway and Beyond (St. Anthony Park Community Council)

To develop a coalition to explore connecting the Midtown Greenway to the Green Line via the Short Line Bridge, an iconic and historic route over the Mississippi River.

Charles and Griggs Bikeways Tool Station (Erin Pavlica)

To create a bike tool station at the Charles/Griggs Bikeways intersection where riders can stop, connect and learn more about bike maintenance.

Creating a Heart in the Zone: A Market for Body, Mind and Soul (Michael Russelle)

To strengthen community ties in the Creative Enterprise Zone by developing a new pop-up market designed as a vibrant town square where people can meet, shop, eat and enjoy artistic performances.

Dale Street Local (Michael Olson and David Marston)

To strengthen community bonds by adding contextual information that highlights the unique attributes of surrounding neighborhoods at the Dale Street Station.

Designing the Little Africa Cultural Corridor (African Economic Development Solutions)

To develop a new plan for urban design in Little Africa by combining feedback from community members and technical experts with placemaking activities.

Energy Equals Movement and Community Squared (E=MC2) (We Lighting LLC)

To better connect the Mississippi River path to downtown by enhancing the walkability of the Sibley underpass through creative lighting.

Engaging a Diverse Community To Shape a Shared Vision for a New Park (The Trust for Public Land)

To work with diverse residents near Lexington and University streets to develop a community vision for a new park.

Food Truck Mingle! (St. Paul Area Chamber of Commerce)

To transform a vacant Central Station lot into a food truck corral where downtown workers and transit riders can mingle and break bread together.

Fourth Street Festival (Minnesota Museum of American Art)

To bring to life a vision for a car-free downtown corridor by opening Fourth Street to pedestrians and bikes for a one-day festival of art, performance and music.

Friendship Forest (Amanda Lovelee)

To creatively unite residents and beautify the urban environment by planting 500 trees in one day on vacant, underused land along the Green Line.

Green Line Commons (Rice Park Association)

To link five downtown public spaces between Central Station and Rice Park to create a dynamic, new public commons.

Green Line Community Visioning Parklet (Jim Ivey)

To create a toolkit that will help users convert an on-street parking space into a temporary parklet to engage people in shaping their community.

Green UP Union Park (Union Park District Council)

To engage the Union Park community in developing an inviting pocket park that creates an attractive, pedestrian-friendly gateway to the Snelling Green Line station.

Griggs Park Community Green Space (The Trust for Public Land)

To work with diverse residents near Lexington and University streets to develop a community vision for a new park.

Historic Rondo Village (Aurora St. Anthony Neighborhood Development Corp.)

To explore the creation of a family-oriented, multi-use park near Lexington Parkway with open air markets and festivals in the summer and ice skating in the winter.

Improved Walkability through Signage (Matt Privratsky)

To encourage people to explore neighborhoods near the Green Line by improving maps on existing signs with more engaging navigational cues and information.

Johnny Baby’s Rondo Park (Johnny Baby’s)

To strengthen neighborhood life in Frogtown by creating a new gathering space within an underutilized parking lot.

Little Africa Weekend Market (Little Africa Development Group)

To provide a space for African immigrant entrepreneurs and artists to showcase their products and ideas at a Little Africa Weekend Market.

Living Landmarks: Resident-Led Neighborhood Tours (Minnesota Historical Society)

To offer a series of new community-led walking tours that highlight the unique strengths and qualities of Central Corridor neighborhoods.

Mind If I Sit Here? (Heather Cole)

To promote more interaction between residents and improve neighborhood life in downtown St. Paul by inviting people to take part in brown-bag conversations that change location regularly.

River Balcony Prototyping Festival (Saint Paul Riverfront Corp.)

To prototype ideas to develop a vibrant River Balcony, a civic walkway with a mix of shopping, living, and interactive art that links downtown Green Line riders to the Mississippi River area and adjacent parks and trails.

Rock the Public Meeting (St. Paul Smart Trips)

To increase resident participation in transportation planning along the Green Line through creative, youth-led pop-up placemaking projects in Frogtown.

Rondo Commemorative Plaza and Garden (Rondo Avenue Inc.)
To create an interactive, technology-driven public space where visitors can learn about the history of the African-American community of Rondo.

St. Paul Green Line Better Block (Team Better Block)

To engage residents in rapid prototyping of changes they would like to see in their neighborhood.

Storefront Selfies! (West Bank Business Association)

To create a beautiful visual landscape along the Green Line by pairing local artists with business owners to improve façades with creative signage, murals and brilliant lights.

Turning Businesses Into Developers Projects (Craig Blakely)

To provide local businesses with advice from development experts so that they can redevelop their sites and avoid displacement.

weeCinema (The Film Society of Minneapolis-St. Paul)

To create a fanciful, moveable theater in a freight container that can pop up in public spaces along the Green Line.


Kathy Graves, Parenteau Graves, 612-242-3184, ">

Anusha Alikhan, Director of Communications, Knight Foundation, 305-908-2677,">

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit

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