Volunteers pitch in, enliven streets of south St. Anthony Park

Text and photos by Mindy Keskinen

With paint on their hands and dirt on their boots, dozens of neighbors leaned into two early October projects to make the streets of south St. Anthony Park more welcoming.

A street mural near the corner of Seal Street and Territorial Road took shape Oct. 3. What was bare asphalt at the entrance to Seal Hi-Rise that morning turned into a bright array of interlocking animal and plant shapes by sunset.

Throughout the day, muralist Kada Goalen led a team of citizen painters gathered by St. Anthony Park Community Council’s Transportation Committee. Studies show that street-level murals help calm traffic. And, along with a new sidewalk on Territorial and an eye catching crosswalk at Carleton Street, the project links the hi-rise with Raymond Station in a safe, enjoyable route. Grants from the AARP Community Challenge and University of Minnesota Good Neighbor Fund made it all possible.

On Oct. 9, some 60 volunteers rolled up their sleeves for the 100 Trees Initiative’s community planting day, a project hosted by the nonprofit Creative Enterprise Zone (and featured in the August Park Bugle.) Within four hours, the bare-root saplings were transplanted from three gravel bed nurseries into designated spots along the streets of south St. Anthony Park, which lacks the tree canopy enjoyed by much of the neighborhood.

“This area of St. Paul needs trees in a bad way—if you check out maps of the urban heat island in our city, you can see it,” said project leader Ben Shardlow, CEZ vice chair. “We hope to use what we learned this year to improve and share the process. This project wouldn’t have been possible without committed volunteers, and every time we needed help throughout the project, people showed up.”

Besides the CEZ, other project sponsors include the city of St. Paul, St. Anthony Park Community Council, University of Minnesota, Landbridge Ecological, Davey Tree, Bailey Nurseries and Transition Town-All St. Anthony Park. Landbridge also served as a gravel bed host, along with Bang Brewing, Deneen Pottery, Exeter Group and Spotweld. 

Mindy Keskinen coordinates communications for Transition Town-All St. Anthony Park.

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