Urban Land Institute to Advise ReConnect Rondo on Development of “Freeway Lid” Park Space to Link Rondo Neighborhoods Adjacent to Interstate 94 in Saint Paul

Visit by ULI Experts is Part of Nationwide “10-Minute Walk” Campaign to Increase Urban Park Access

For more information, contact: Trisha Riggs at 202-624-7086; trisha.riggs@uli.org

WASHINGTON (March 15, 2018) — A group of nationally renowned land use and urban planning experts representing the  Urban Land Institute (ULI) will be making recommendations next week to the Reconnect Rondo: More Than a Bridge organization and its partners on the development of “freeway lid” space to link Rondo neighborhoods adjacent to Interstate 94 with a park or series of parks that straddle the freeway. The organization’s partners include the City of Saint Paul, Minnesota Department of Transportation, the Metropolitan Council, Minnesota Department of Health, and Ramsey County.

ULI is a global, multidisciplinary real estate organization whose work is driven by 40,000-plus members dedicated to responsible land use and building thriving, sustainable communities. The ULI panel, convened through ULI’s renowned Advisory Services Program, will be visiting the community March 18-23. The visit is part of ULI’s participation in the “10-Minute Walk” campaign, a collaborative effort with the Trust for Public Land and the National Recreation and Parks Association to increase access to urban parks in cities nationwide. The campaign’s goal is for all Americans in urban areas to live within a 10-minute walk (or half-mile) of a high-quality park or green space.

Panelists will be considering the types of land uses and development that could be catalyzed by the freeway lids, benefiting the neighborhoods and greater community. Their assignment will build on previous advisory work regarding freeway lids conducted through ULI Minnesota, which serves ULI members in the Minneapolis-Saint Paul area and throughout the state.  As part of its work, the panel will be considering factors such as:

  • The benefits and constraints of each of the freeway lid concepts previously proposed by the ULI Minnesota panel;
  • The most effective way to incorporate a freeway lid into the surrounding community, including the types of land uses best suited for the revitalization effort, such as retail, civic centers, green space, incubator space, residential, office/industrial, etc.;
  • Recommended strategies for revitalization within surrounding neighborhoods that acknowledge the history of challenges associated with the placement of the freeway while promoting reconnections to ensure a bright future for the area and the region;
  • Priorities for implementation of a development plan, including timing and phasing;
  • Funding strategies or examples of public space management from other cities and communities that should be considered in the implementation of a development plan; and
  • Actions that Reconnect Rondo, its agency partners, and other stakeholders should be taking to ensure inclusive, equitable development and to reduce displacement.

ULI Leader Lyneir Richardson, executive director for the Center for Urban Entrepreneurship and Economic Development at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey, will serve as the panel’s chairman. “We’re excited to bring ULI’s expertise to Saint Paul,” Richardson said. “We’ll be considering a broad spectrum of challenges and opportunities in this community to determine a set of recommendations that best address its immediate and long-term needs for both linkage and revival. Rondo’s future can be greatly enhanced by park space that serves as connective tissue bringing residents together, improving neighborhood livability, and boosting economic growth.”

Richardson will be joined by: Beth Callender, principal, CallendarWorks, San Diego, California; Rodney Crim, president, St. Louis Economic Development Partnership, St. Louis, Missouri; Sarah Graham, principal, Strategic Economics, Berkeley, California; Bert Gregory, partner, Mithun, Seattle, Washington; Ilana Lipsett, co-founder, Freespace, Oakland, California; and Ben Stone, director of arts and culture, Smart Growth America, Baltimore, Maryland.

During the week, the panel will tour the neighborhoods being evaluated for the assignment and interview a variety of stakeholders in the community before developing a set of recommendations that will be presented at the conclusion of the panel’s visit.

ULI Americas Chief Executive Officer Ralph Boyd noted that the panel’s assignment aligns well with the goals of the 10-Minute Walk campaign. “Thoughtfully designed parks make a positive difference in the quality of life in communities, serving as a respite, a source of civic pride, and a draw for investment activity,” Boyd said. “To that end, the freeway lid proposal holds great potential for Rondo and the greater Saint Paul area.”

Now in its 71st year, the ULI advisory services program assembles experts in the fields of real estate and land use planning to participate on panels worldwide, offering recommendations for complex planning and development projects, programs and policies. Panels have developed more than 700 studies for a broad range of land uses, ranging from waterfront properties to inner-city retail.

According to Thomas Eitler, senior vice president of ULI’s advisory services program, the strength of the program lies in ULI’s unique ability to draw on the substantial knowledge of its 40,000-plus members, including land developers, engineers, public officials, academics, lenders, architects, planners and urban designers. “The independent views of the panelists bring a fresh perspective to the land use challenge,” Eitler said. “The advisory services program is all about offering creative, innovative approaches to community building.”

Past sponsors of ULI advisory service panels include: federal, state and local government agencies; regional councils of government; chambers of commerce; redevelopment authorities; private developers and property owners; community development corporations; lenders; historic preservation groups; non-profit community groups; environmental organizations and economic development agencies.

NOTE TO REPORTERS AND EDITORS: Members of the media may attend an invitation-only reception on Sunday, March 18, from 5 p.m. to 6:15 p.m. at the Wilder Foundation, 451 Lexington Parkway in Saint Paul. The media and public are invited to a reception at Union Depot, 240 East Kellogg Boulevard, #70, on Monday, March 19, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. The media and public are also invited to the presentation of the panel’s recommendations on Friday, March 23, at 9 a.m. at the Hallie Q. Brown Community Center, 270 North Kent Street.

About the Urban Land Institute
The Urban Land Institute is a nonprofit education and research institute supported by its members. Its mission is to provide leadership in the responsible use of land and in creating and sustaining thriving communities worldwide. Established in 1936, the institute has more than 40,000 members worldwide representing all aspects of land use and development disciplines. For more information, please visit 
uli.org  or follow us on TwitterFacebookLinkedIn, and Instagram.

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