St. Paul’s Rondo neighborhood celebrates Juneteenth with dedication of new community garden


By Deevon Rahming, KARE 11. Originally published June 19, 2021.

ST PAUL, Minn. — St. Paul-based home improvement nonprofit, Rebuilding Together Twin Cities, received a $150,000 National Neighborhood Promise Grant from the Republic Services

The organization dedicated a community garden at the Rondo Commemorative Plaza site Saturday.

Elected officials and people from all walks of life spent the afternoon rooted in reflection of just how far we’ve come since the last enslaved African Americans were notified of their freedom on the same day in 1865. A day many now know as Juneteenth. 

“The wealth created by the institution of American slavery is still very present, very active all over our country today including the state of Minnesota,” said St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter. 

Mayor Carter and his family, including his mother, Ramsey County Commissioner, Toni Carter, dedicated a family tree in the garden, commemorating their family’s original Rondo home that was uprooted during the construction of Interstate 94, which dates back to 1956. 

“Businesses, homes, families, churches,” explained Mayor Carter. 

“That decision has had generational impacts on generational wealth, culture, all of the things that created the vibrancy of Rondo,” said Minnesota Governor Tim Walz. 

The investment in the restorative garden — both residents and state leaders say is a symbol of the growth and change yet to come. 

“We know that not just because we are in Rondo are we one, we know that we are growing together as we become more familiar with the roots from which we all stem,” said Ramsey County Commissioner Tony Carter. 

“Learning from the past means changing the future,” said Governor Walz. 

This project is one component of a greater plan to reconnect the historically Black neighborhood.  

 St. Paul nonprofit, ReConnect Rondo envisions a 20-acre land bridge over the interstate between Lexington Ave. and Rice St., seamlessly integrating the north and south sides of this diverse and culturally vibrant community.

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ReConnect Rondo Technical Advisory Team:

  • David Juliff, Be Civil, Inc.
  • Khani Sahebjam, SRF Consulting Group
  • John Maczko, SRF Consulting Group
  • Kent Arhenholtz, Kaskaskia Engineering Group
  • Brenda Thomas, KLJ, Inc
  • Marcus Thomas, Bolton & Menk
  • Scott McBride, Bolton & Menk
  • Marcell Walker, Bolton & Menk
  • Veronica Burt, 600 Strategies, Inc.
  • Björgvin Sævarsson, YORTH Group
  • Katie Eggers, YORTH Group
  • Jim Erkel, Retired Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy (MCEA)
  • Brian Isaacson, Ramsey County
  • Diem Van Groth, Strategic Consultant