Mayor's News Update 7.23.10

Heartland, Red Bull Flugtag Bring More Excitement to Saint Paul

This weekend will be one to remember here in Saint Paul. To start, Lenny Russo has reopened the doors to Heartland Restaurant and Farm Direct Market after relocating from Mac-Groveland to Lowertown. I will be there tonight around 5:30, with my sleeves rolled up, to jump behind the bar and serve drinks. Heartland is located in the historic Markethouse Building, across from the Saint Paul Farmer's Market, and features food inspired by the Midwest and a menu that changes daily, which allows customers to discover a new favorite dish each time they visit. When the Farm Direct Market opens in August, customers will find all the fresh ingredients used in the Heartland kitchen, sourced from local and regional farmers. I want to welcome Russo to Lowertown and am happy this Saint Paul staple restaurant is part of the growth in downtown. As you may have read or seen on television, this Saturday Red Bull Flugtag is coming to Harriet Island. Flugtag, meaning "flight day" in German, showcases the skills of homemade flying machines and the teams who have spent months crafting them. The event has been held all over the United States and around the world. This is the first time it has come to Minnesota, and I think they chose the perfect city for their event. Red Bull asked me to be a judge for the event and I am up for the task. It will take more than a pretty airplane to win my vote; I'm looking for creativity and how far a team flies. But whether a team wins or loses, with an estimated 40,000 people expected to be in attendance, this will be a great chance for Saint Paul to shine.

Featured Interviews on MPR

I had the opportunity over the past few weeks to go on Minnesota Public Radio. My appearances were for very different reasons - from music to policy and economic development - I hope you will take some time to listen to the interviews. On Wednesday, Mayor R.T. Rybak and I were featured on Midmorning with Kerri Miller discussing Minneapolis bidding on bring the Democratic National Convention to our region in 2012. We also discussed the Central Corridor, economic development and immigration. I want to thank everyone who took the time to call in with their questions. You can find the interview here [ ]. Last week I had the pleasure of sitting down with Minnesota Public Radio classical music host Alison Young to talk about some of my favorite pieces. It was not an easy choice, but I chose "Sull'aria," from Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro, and Gardel's "Por Una Cabeza," one of the most widely recognized tango songs. As I told Alison, these songs are some of my favorites in part because of their places in scenes from two great movies. To hear more of what we discussed, make sure you listen to the entire interview [ ].

New Initiatives Help Businesses Get Ready for Rail

This week, Mayor Rybak, Metropolitan Council Chairman Peter Bell, and I introduced the Business Resources Collaborative, the "Ready for Rail" action plan and a $1.5 million dollar fund to help small businesses affected by construction of the Central Corridor. Through these initiatives, businesses located along the Central Corridor will have the tools they need prepare for construction. The Business Resources Collaborative spans business organizations, nonprofit community developers, local governments and the Metropolitan Council. The BRC formed in 2009 to coordinate various community-led efforts addressing business and economic development along the Central Corridor. The "Ready for Rail" Initiative identifies existing resources and services available to help businesses and property owners get ready for rail - and makes it much easier for them to learn about and use those services. The $1.5 million fund will provide interest-free, deferred loans to small businesses along the Corridor who need help during construction. The Small Business Loan Fund will be created with contributions of $1 million from the Metropolitan Council and $500,000 from the Central Corridor Funders Collaborative. The Central Corridor will be the greatest economic development initiative in Minnesota history. These initiatives are part of the ongoing regional effort by Saint Paul, Minneapolis and the Metropolitan Council to ensure all businesses are prepared for construction. I believe these steps are necessary because I want all of Saint Paul's businesses to be able to thrive once light rail service begins in 2014.I recently stopped by the Saint Paul Public Library's Mobile WORKplace, one of our library's new initiatives. To watch the announcement, click here [ ].

Mobile WORKplace Bridges Digital Literacy Gap

The Mobile WORKplace provides ten classes every week throughout the summer to teach residents essential computer skills they need to compete in the 21st century. By bringing these classes out into the community, we are able to reach residents who don't have ready access to computers or the internet. Many of the people who attend these classes have never used a computer before, and digital literacy has become a prerequisite for the modern workplace. One great part of this initiative is that we are able to offer classes to residents in English, Somali, Spanish, Hmong, Karen, Amharic, and Tigrinya. The MobileWORKplace has been funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation for the next two years. For schedules and more information, visit [ ]. As Saint Paul leads the way out of the recession, initiatives like the Mobile WORKplace allow us to make sure our residents have the skills they need to succeed. To watch the announcement, click here [ ].