The City of St. Paul celebrated the inductees to the annual Neighborhood Honor Roll on Jan. 27 at an event at the University of St. Thomas.
Both Como Park’s District 10 and St. Anthony Park’s District 12 honored neighbors who have contributed to making their communities a better place to live.
District 10 Honor Roll inductees include have Seeba, Debra Pursley and the neighbors who voluntarily steward the Churchill Garden have been chosen as District 10’s additions to the St. Paul Neighborhood Honor Roll. The annual award is given to residents or organizations that make a sustained and lasting impact to improve the quality of life in our neighborhood and the city at large.
Seeba is being honored for his single-handed effort to raise $3,000 to purchase and install 11 banners in the parking lot at Como Park Senior High School. The banners convert what the nomination calls “a drab and rather uninviting” space into a site that greets students every day and reflects “the enthusiasm for learning” going on inside the school.
Pursley is being honored for her years of service on the community council—both her consistent push to make sure residents’ points of view are considered before decisions are made and her hands-on approach to getting things done behind the scenes. Her most visible role: coordinating volunteers at the annual neighborhood cleanup and handling senior citizen pick-ups for that event.
The Churchill Garden volunteers planted and maintained a perennial garden for more than 15 years at the intersection of Churchill, Van Slyke and Horton. When street reconstruction destroyed the garden, the neighbors expanded their vision. For months, they worked with St. Paul Public Works and other city departments, the Capitol Region Watershed District, Ramsey County Conservation, District 10 and others to gain approval and funding for an even larger native garden. This new garden works hand in hand with a storm water filtration system on the site to protect water quality in Como Lake; provide a eye-pleasing gateway to the neighborhood for motorists, bus riders, cyclists and pedestrians; and provide a sanctuary for pollinators and other wildlife. The garden stewards capped it off by recruiting more than 50 volunteers to install more than 1,400 plants in one day in October.
Current stewards include Erin Dooley, Gita Gheil, Mike Hass, Susan Janda, Aaron and Sandra Peterson, Maren Swenson and Bonnie Youngquist. Others provide financial support, and another rotating cast of volunteers have long come and gone, though their legacy remains.
The Como Community Council Board selected this year’s winners out of 10 nominees submitted by community members. They were honored at a citywide celebration Jan. 27 at the University of St. Thomas.
The St. Anthony Park Community Council named three neighbors to the St. Paul Neighborhood Honor Roll.
Les Everett, a longtime transportation and environmental advocate, was nominated for his many years of service to St. Anthony Park. Everett served diligently for many years on the council’s Transportation and Land Use committees and worked on issues ranging from bike lanes to environmental sustainability with passion, consideration and dedication. He will be greatly missed.
Workhorse Coffee Bar joined the neighborhood in 2015 but has already become an open, welcoming and inclusive place for neighbors, employees and visitors in the community to gather. The coffee shop hosts the Smallest Museum in St. Paul, offering local artists an area to showcase their miniature works. Workhorse has woven itself into the fabric of the neighborhood, enhancing our community’s vibrancy and connectedness.
Regula Russelle has been involved for a long time on many topics in the neighborhood, but most recently Transition Town–All St. Anthony Park. Russelle demonstrates an unfailing support for other people and genuine love of community, which she communicates in everything she says and does with other people. Neighbors remark that she defines the very idea of “neighborly.”