Knight Foundation to fund projects that improve life along the Green Line in St. Paul

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.

With Green Line light rail trains scheduled to begin running next month between downtown St. Paul and downtown Minneapolis, the Knight Foundation wants to fund a few good projects (or more) that will enhance life in St. Paul neighborhoods along the corridor.

The St. Paul-based Knight’s “Green Line Challenge” is a contest open to ideas from nonprofits, individuals and businesses. They’ll put $1.5 million into the projects over the next three years.

And they’re not sure exactly how many, or what kinds of projects will be funded.

“We don’t want to limit the possibilities,” said Polly Talen, Knight’s program director. “They could be things that spur economic activity, that bring people together in or across neighborhoods, that make a neighborhood more distinctive or make St. Paul more distinctive.”

Expect to fund 15 t0 30 projects this year

There won’t be just one winner of this contest: They hope to fund many projects, ranging in size from as small as $1,000 to those as large as $75,000. The exact number of grants will depend on what types of projects are proposed, but they anticipate funding 15 to 30 projects in 2014.

Organizers are excited about opening the contest to the public — crowdsourcing it, in a way.

“Those who live, work, play and visit St. Paul can come up with great ideas,” Talen said. “They’re limited only by their imagination and capacity to implement.”

Must benefit Green Line St. Paul neighborhood(s)

There is one requirement: The project 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.

The contest was announced Thursday night at the annual Great River Gathering, which celebrates positive changes in St. Paul and the Mississippi River.

Applications for contest projects can be made online and will be accepted from June 24 to July 24.

Knight has long been involved in development along the light rail line as a co-founder of the Central Corridor Funders Collaborative.

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