Q. THE LAND BRIDGE WILL CHANGE RONDO FROM WHAT IT WAS?
A. In 2018, Rondo is changing rapidly, whether the Land Bridge is built or not. The real question to ask is, who will benefit from the change? Is the change in our control? And will it be authentic to our values?
Q. WON’T THE LAND BRIDGE GENTRIFY THE NEIGHBORHOOD?
A. Rondo has become a home for many “new” Americans as well as “urban pioneers.” We see it all around us. The American return to “central city living,” the construction of the Green Line rail, the resurgence of St. Paul as a livable city have all placed pressure and opportunities on Rondo.
Q. WOULDN’T THE LAND BRIDGE DRIVE UP PROPERTY TAXES?
A. Property taxes have clearly been going up in St. Paul, especially in recent years, and likely will whether the Land Bridge is built or not. The better, more important question is whether the Land Bridge will attract “new resources” to the Rondo community that it would not otherwise have. If the Rondo community is united about what the purpose and benefit of the Land Bridge is, there’s the prospect that its presence will help ensure the quality of life, sustainability and resiliency for Rondo residents much more than endanger its fabric as a people.
Q. HOW CAN I TRUST THAT THE BIG MONEY INTERESTS WON’T SWOOP IN AND COMPROMISE ALL THAT WE HAVE WORKED FOR IN SAVING RONDO?
A. It is healthy to remain skeptical on this very important issue and that will help assure the outcome that we all want. The partnerships that have worked together to incubate the Land Bridge concept are involved BECAUSE it is a mission-driven project, created to help correct the wrongs that happened years ago when the interstate was constructed. The best way to keep that essential fire burning — whether for the Land Bridge or for other Rondo initiatives — is through an engaged and vocal community that keeps projects like this on track. In the 1960s, we did not have the political strength we needed to stop the bisection of our community. Today, we have a black mayor, and we have the ear and eager participation of top business and government officials. The key will be for us to air our differences, as we must, and at the same time be a united front that reminds everyone why we are doing this.