By Charmaine Nero, KARE-11. Originally published February 28, 2023.
ST PAUL, Minn. — *Editor’s note: The above story first aired Feb. 4, 2021.
The Rondo neighborhood is one of hundreds of communities across the country to receive federal funding after they were uprooted by the construction of the federal highway system.
According to a press release from the City of St. Paul, the Rondo neighborhood will get $2 million from the Reconnecting Communities Grant as part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
“The timing was fortuitous,” said ReConnect Rondo Executive Director Keith Baker in the city’s press release, “but it is also incredibly validating to see the federal government take responsibility for the lasting harm rendered on communities all these years later with hard dollars that can materially help us today in our effort to springboard into a more healthy and planful future.”
Several homes and neighborhoods, including the Rondo community, were disconnected during the construction of Interstate 94 back in the 1960s. This grant, according to city officials, will be used to for a restorative land bridge that would cap I-94 for several blocks between Chatsworth Street and Grotto Street.
It will also be used “for an environmental impact analysis, neighborhood traffic analysis and modeling, and community engagement around the effects of creating new land over Interstate 94,” according to the release, while also going to the Minnesota Department of Transportation’s “ReThinking I-94” initiative.
“ReConnect Rondo’s neighborhood-led vision is important and will create opportunities for community empowerment and economic growth,” said Rep. Betty McCollum in a release. “Most importantly, it allows for reconciliation and healing for a community that was cruelly ripped apart, and I am honored to have helped facilitate bringing these funds to the Fourth District.”