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Fairview and Marshall Hosts First Artistic Crosswalk

Starting on Monday, May 16, you may have notice some changes at the intersection of Fairview and Marshall Avenues. The Friendly Streets Initiative has been working with neighbors to install temporary bumpouts, creative painted crosswalks, and other measures intended to improve the intersection for all users. You can read more on the background of the painted crosswalk -- the first of its kind in Saint Paul -- in this MinnPost article

Part of their larger Fairview Avenue and Better Bridges projects, this demonstration implements feedback from the community, allowing neighbors to experience some of their ideas in action. Let us know what you think! 

Rent a Barricade

Our barricades are available on a first­ come, first­ served basis to residents who have already applied for a block party permit through the City of Saint Paul.
Our barricades are approved for block party use, but are smaller than the City’s, so they are not appropriate adjacent to higher traffic streets. A $40 fee and a $80 refundable deposit are required. 

Please plan to pay when you receive the barricades in cash or with two separate checks made out to UPDC. The $80 deposit will be returned when you return the barricades. (The city charges $143 for their barricades with the exception of National Night Out). 

To reserve a barricade contact Michael at (651) 645-6887 or email

Union Park Will Be Getting a New Park

Union Park will be getting a new park! The City has confirmed that it now owns three vacant parcels along Griggs Street across from Skyline Tower and they will be converted into a five-acre park.  

In total, the land cost $2.5 million. The Trust for Public Land bought the final parcel with private funds, and donated it to the city. The other two parcels were purchased with a combination of private and funds and money from the City’s 8 80 Vitality Fund.

According to a green space assessment, just 2.3 percent of the area is dedicated to parkland, although parks make up an average of 15 percent of St. Paul. The new park will be within a ten-minute walk of more than 2,600 residents – including the residents of Skyline Tower, who are largely East African immigrants.

Skyline residents, along with other community partners including Union Park, Gordon Parks High School and the Lexington-Hamline Community Council, have been working for years on this effort.  A few years ago, residents of Skyline brought St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman up to the 24th floor of the building to look out on the surrounding storefronts, restaurants, the Green Line light rail route, lots of parking lots – and no green space.

While the community will now undoubtedly get that much needed green space, it will take some time to raise funds to develop it, and to design and build it. Union Park will be working with the Trust for Public Land to engage residents on visioning for the park, and with the City on its development.

Opportunities to get involved:

Email with your ideas for the new park, read a summary of our park listening conducted so far, and join us for the following upcoming events:

Thursday, May 25, 2:30-5:00pm at new park

Monday, July 31, 4:00-8:00pm at new park

Here are two recent articles on the future park:

A new St. Paul park is on the verge of reality, thanks to the work of a committed neighborhood

St. Paul, Trust for Public Land buy property for new park in Midway neighborhood

Join us for Ice Cream, Peanut Butter and Jam!

Join us for the third annual community party featuring free Izzy’s ice cream, peanut butter for the food shelf, and jamming to local folk music on Saturday, September 17th from noon to 4 p.m. at Merriam Park. This year we will also feature kids activities, local artists, businesses and organizations, food trucks, and more. Come connect with neighbors, enjoy the beauty of Merriam Park, and don’t forget your peanut butter donation.

WHEN: Saturday, Sept. 17th 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

WHERE:Merriam Park, 2000 Saint Anthony Ave, St. Paul

Prior Avenue Community Social

Please join us as we celebrate the opening of the Prior Avenue bridge! MnDOT wants to thank you for the patiece and support you've shown while the pedestrian and bicycle accessibility, lighting and road quality have been improved on the Prior Avenue bridge. Come share in the fun and stop by for a community social to celebrate the opening of the bridge.

We will be on the south side of the Prior Avenue bridge near the skateboard park. Enjoy live music from Eli's Sons and Wayward, free popcorn and frozen treats, bike tune-ups from Express Bike Shop, a jump castle, and bike decorating! See you at the social and remember to bring your bike!

Let's Play at Aldine Park

Join us at Aldine Park (1717 Iglehart Ave) on Saturday June 18th from 12pm-5pm for a day of fun for the entire family with the Pop-Up Adventure Playground play space.

And while you're there share your input with Union Park District Council staff on the Soccer Stadium and Midway Center redevelopment plans.We want to hear what you think, and we'll do our best to answer your questions. Come talk with us!




Help Paint Murals on Whole Foods building

Local Hamline-Midway artist, Kada Goalan, has been chosen to paint murals on the new Whole Foods building and Selby and Snelling, one facing Selby and the other facing Dayton. The art will reflect the historic features of the neighborhood. The image to the left is a rendering of one of the two murals.

For Kada, bringing happiness to the community is just one reason why she loves to paint murals. She hopes her two murals will do the same for the Union Park neighborhood, which she plans to will have completed by the end of June. Everyone is welcome to help Kada in the painting process during her community paint day on Sunday June 12th, from 12pm-2pm on location. All ages are welcome to help and talk to Kada about the design and process. Until then, here’s more on Kada’s journey as an artist and what inspired her design. 

About the artist

Fifteen years ago, Kada didn’t necessarily plan to paint murals as a full-time profession: the opportunity to do so simply fell into her lap. While going to school for her Bachelors of Fine Arts degree, the St. Paul native studied painting in Florence, Italy for six months. Upon returning to St. Paul, she worked in a family-owned Italian restaurant in North Oaks. This is where she serendipitously received her first commission to paint a mural, which is still intact to this day. “I was working as a server at Panino’s and one day the owner heard that I’d studied painting in Florence. He immediately asked me to paint a mural and I agreed, even though I’d never done it before!” This first project was not only the beginning of Kada’s career as a muralist, but also where she was introduced to her first clientele. “It was great, I’d wait tables during the day and then paint afterwards. While I was serving, people would ask about the mural artist and I was able to talk to them about it. The customers would ask if I could do art for them as well, so when I gave them the bill I just wrote my phone number on the other side and get commissions that way.”

Kada continued to refine her talent in painting murals over the years and was commissioned to work on other home renovation projects as well. Her advertising method hasn’t change since day one: she gets her clients via word of mouth. “Usually I end up making my way through neighborhoods and work on houses all the way down a single block. It’s come to the point where the other day I drove down a street where I’d done projects and realized I’d done a different project in just about every-other household!”

Aside from transforming household interiors, Kada also has worked as an artist in residences at four different schools in the Twin Cities. “I come in and work with the kids on basic art concepts and techniques in addition to painting a mural. I love the teaching element of it and seeing how excited the students are when the project is finished. They are so excited to see their work on the wall, it gives them a sense of ownership in their school that they really cherish.”

Behind the design

Kada wants to capture the same sense of ownership and pride about the art while working with the community on the murals at Whole Foods. “I think public art is an act of beautifying the originality of a place and adds value to a place. Public murals in particular make buildings stand out and become more noticeable, acting as landmarks for locals to reference. For instance, Selby & Snelling is a distinguishable intersection because of the shops around the area that people recognize as unique to the area.” She also added that “public art projects are not only investments in neighborhoods and buildings, but also in local artists. I’m glad those at the Vintage on Selby decided to invest in local artists and adding to the rich culture of the area. It brings such happiness to people.”

The existing culture and historical significance of the area were large influences in the design that Kada created for the murals. “I wanted to mix the old with the new in this design in order to reflect the character of the neighborhood, while still embodying the vibrancy of the neighborhood with bright colors and fresh elements.” The rail car that once ran along Selby is referenced in the design, as well as old-fashioned bicycles and modern cars in order to reflect the importance of the intersection as a commercial and transportation hub. Viewers can keep an eye out for original buildings of the area incorporated in the design, as well as faces of people from historic photos from the Minnesota Historical Society. “The fact that Union Park is distinguishable because of its family-oriented community and the locally-owned businesses, and not by only by the colleges in the area, is what I admire about the area,” added Marisa, who is another local artist helping Kada with the project. Kada agrees and hopes that shows through to others when they view the murals.

Kada hopes for sunlight and many volunteers in attendance at the community paint day to help bring her design to life. “I’m hopeful that many people from the neighborhood will be there to participate in the painting and gain a sense of ownership about the work they’ll have contributed to.” 

For more information, check out Kada's portfolio on her website.

This article was written by our UPDC intern, Karah VueBenson. 

Exploring a Midtown Greenway extension

Save the date for an important panel discussion, open to the community and hosted by the Union Park District Council board. From 7:00-8:00 pm on Wednesday, June 7, we'll hear from people who have been involved in the initiative to extend the Midtown Greenway bikeway from Minneapolis, over the Short Line Mississippi River bridge, and through Union Park down Ayd Mill Road. This discussion will precede our regular board meeting at Episcopal Homes (1860 University Avenue). Plan to come with questions and leave with ideas for how to support this project. 

We have invited five panelists to inform our board and the broader community about this topic:

Soren Jensen has more than 25 years of experience in the nonprofit sector and has been the Executive Director of the Midtown Greenway Coalition since 2011. The Midtown Greenway is a former railroad corridor in Minneapolis with a 5.5-mile-long biking and walking trail that has been called the best urban bike trail in the nation. While the Greenway was officially completed in 2006, many projects remain unfinished, including extending the trail over the Mississippi River via the Short Line Bridge currently in use by the railroad. 

Cora Peterson is a south Minneapolis resident and a founder of the Min Hi Line Coalition. In 2016, she began working with Nathan Van Wylen, a Longfellow Community Council board member, to develop community support for a long-held aspiration in Minneapolis and Hennepin County planning documents: a greenway along the Minnehaha-Hiawatha Avenue freight corridor. Over the past year, the Min Hi Line Coalition has enlisted support from neighborhood associations, non-profit organizations, elected officials, developers, and corridor property owners.

John Maczko started with the city in 1985 and has served in many capacities in Traffic and Street Operations as well as Transportation Engineering and Planning.  He also served 13 years as the City Engineer and is currently serving as the Division Manager for Traffic Engineering. He was involved in earlier efforts to institute a Midtown Greenway Extension From Minneapolis along the rail line through Union Park and down the Ayd Mill corridor.

Mike Madden is a co-founder of Neighborhoods First! – a grass roots organization that envisions a sustainable, livable community that includes an Ayd Mill Linear Park. He served in various capacities for the Merriam Park Community Council and the Union Park District Council between 1999 and 2012, including on the Saint Paul Greenway Extension Committee.

Bill Lindeke, Ph.D., is an urban geographer and writer who focuses on how our environments shape our lives. He has taught at the University of Minnesota and Metro State University, blogs at Twin City Sidewalks and, and is a member of the Saint Paul Planning Commission. Much of his research focuses on bicycle planning, and how to attract new riders to urban bicycling. He has worked on initiatives to promote the St. Paul Greenway in the past.