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ULI’s ongoing partnership with ReConnect Rondo
The 2018 Advisory Services Panel with the Rondo neighborhood kicked off what has been a sustained partnership, as the work of the Rondo Land Bridge continues to advance. In the fall of 2020, ULI Minnesota in partnership Reconnect Rondo was selected as a recipient of a ULI Curtis Infrastructure Initiative grant.
ReConnect Rondo presents on Minnesota House File 2169:
Marvin Anderson and Keith Baker of Reconnect Rondo presented at a meeting of the Minnesota House Transportation Finance and Policy Committee
On March 25th, Marvin Anderson and Keith Baker of Reconnect Rondo presented at a meeting of the Minnesota House Transportation Finance and Policy Committee. They spoke on the need for state partnership and funding for the planning of a community land bridge over highway I-94. The aim of ReConnect Rondo is to lead a restorative movement in Minnesota. When I-94 was first constructed, the highway cut the vibrant, historically black neighborhood of Rondo in half destroying 700 homes and 300 Black-owned businesses. In July 2020, it was estimated intergenerational wealth gap created by the loss of the home’s equity alone is approximately $157 million.
The Curtis Infrastructure Initiative is partnering with Reconnect Rondo and the Minnesota Department of Transportation in conjunction with ULI Minnesota to support the implementation of the land bridge as part of its inaugural District Council grant opportunity. Specifically, the Initiative is supporting Reconnect Rondo and ULI Minnesota to help design and pilot a “4P” financing model, bringing together private companies, public and philanthropic organizations, and people in the community. The hope in bringing together such a wide range of participants is to create a plan and financing model that does not just accomplish the completion of the bridge, but has a positive, restorative impact on the neighborhood.
In his testimony, Baker asked the committee to support House File 2169 that would grant Reconnect Rondo $6.2 million, which will be used for establishing the master planning team, recruiting and increasing staff and private partners, and evaluating redevelopment plans, including the creating of Minnesota’s first African American Cultural Enterprise District to prepare the community for the changes brought by the creation of new land as well as protect it from displacement caused by increased land values and real estate development. The funding introduced within the bill were some of the key recommendations made by the Urban Land Institute as part of a 2018 Advisory Services Panel examining the feasibility of this land bridge.
You can learn more about the proposed project and the testimony by Reconnect Rondo’s Anderson and Baker here.