Four Saint Paul “Great Places” Honored
Can Can Wonderland, City House, Little Mekong Plaza and Schmidt Artist Lofts recipients of 5th annual Sensible Land Use Coalition Great Places Awards
SAINT PAUL – Four Saint Paul public spaces are recipients of the 5th annual Sensible Land Use Coalition (SLUC) Great Places Awards. Can Can Wonderland, City House, Little Mekong Plaza and Schmidt Artist Lofts received awards during an annual luncheon honoring winners and nominees. In addition, Schmidt Artist Lofts is the recipient of the SLUC Great Places People’s Choice Award as voted on by luncheon attendees.
“Great public spaces enhance the vibrancy of our neighborhoods and communities," said Mayor Chris Coleman. "It is an honor that each of these locations is being recognized for helping to promote livability in Saint Paul for people of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities.”
Can Can Wonderland is Minnesota’s first arts-based public benefit corporation. Local artists designed 18 holes of mini golf in the former American Can Company building. Can Can Wonderland is a 2016 Round 2 recipient of the City’s Cultural STAR Grant program, created to promote economic growth in Saint Paul by strengthening the arts and cultural sector.
City House is a park pavilion and interpretative center on the Mississippi River owned and managed by the City’s Parks and Recreation department. Formerly the Saint Paul Municipal Elevator and Sackhouse, the location was initially slated for demolition and is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. City House is now home to seasonal restaurant Red River Kitchen.
Little Mekong Plaza is one of the first privately-owned public spaces along the Green Line. The landmark and gathering space reflects the Hmong, Vietnamese, and other ethnic and immigrant communities that live and operate businesses in the area. Development was prompted by an investment from the City’s 8 80 Vitality Fund.
Schmidt Artist Lofts provides 261 affordable live/work rental lofts for artists on the former Schmidt Brewery site. The $120 million investment was financed in part by City private activity bonds, low-income housing and historic tax credits which spurred other new commercial developments along West 7th Street. A future expansion of the site includes a year-round, indoor/outdoor marketplace with 22,000 square feet of commercial space.
Previous Saint Paul award winners include Rice Park, Chestnut Plaza, Saint Paul Farmers Market, Urban Flower Field and CHS Field.
SLUC Great Places Awards celebrate public spaces in the seven-county Twin Cities Metropolitan Area and foster their further development. SLUC is a community of land planning, development and regulatory professionals from the public and private sector. Their mission is to present timely land use and development ideas from a diversity of viewpoints in an open and dynamic forum.