Second round of Knight Green Line Challenge opens June 10

May 15, 2015

By George Abbott, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Original blog post can be found here.

Today we’re announcing year two of the Knight Green Line Challenge. The challenge is an open call for the best ideas to build more successful communities in the Central Corridor neighborhoods along the Green Line that connects St. Paul and Minneapolis, Minn.

The challenge seeks answers to one key question: “What’s your best idea to tap into the potential of the Green Line to make surrounding neighborhoods more vibrant places to live and work?” There is $500,000 in grant funding available to make the winning ideas a reality.

Applications will be open from June 10 to July 10, 2015. We want to hear your ideas on how St. Paul’s neighborhoods can take advantage of this $1 billion investment in transit. There are just two rules: Your idea should take place in and benefit at least one of the six St. Paul neighborhoods along the Green Line: Downtown, Frogtown/Thomas-Dale, Hamline Midway, St. Anthony Park, Summit-University or Union Park; and it must focus on at least one of the three key drivers of city success:

1.     Building neighborhoods that better attract newcomers and excite current residents. A stable or, even better, growing, population is critical to community success. The Green Line is a significant new neighborhood amenity. Your idea should build on the potential of the Green Line to attract new people and excite current residents to stay in their neighborhoods.

2.     Fostering neighborhoods that encourage the mingling of people from different economic backgrounds. Such communities provide more opportunity for upward mobility. The Green Line already connects economically diverse communities and broadens the job market for residents in the corridor. Your idea should help to accelerate that and provide more people with access to the ladder of economic opportunity.

3.     Promoting a stronger culture of civic engagement in St. Paul. The Green Line has already been shaped by significant community involvement. Our communities as a whole are shaped by the small decisions made every day by the thousands of people who have a stake in their future. Your idea should use the Green Line to strengthen St Paul’s culture of civic engagement.

The challenge is open to ideas from anyone, anywhere. However, you’ll need to demonstrate a connection to the area (i.e., live, work or study there) or have a plan to partner with a local business, nonprofit or community to make your project happen.

The initial application is easy. We’re asking you to tell us just four things:

  • What is your idea? Sum it up in one sentence of 20 words or less and expand the answer in a paragraph of less than 100 words.
  • Describe the impact your idea will have and what we’ll learn. (150 words or less).
  • What’s unique about your idea? (50 words or less.)
  • Tell us about yourself or your group. (50 words or less).

We’ll be hosting Q&A sessions in St. Paul June 11 and June 12, and online. Sign up for email updates here for the latest news and details on upcoming events.

The Green Line established St. Paul as a leader in transit. Let’s take the next step and build on the investment to create a more successful St. Paul. Start developing your ideas and get ready to submit them beginning June 10, 2015.

George Abbott is special assistant to the vice president for community and national initiatives and interim program director for St. Paul at Knight Foundation. He can be reached via email at abbott@knightfoundation.org. Follow him on Twitter @garthurabbott.