Thirty people were announced Thursday as semifinalists in the Forever St. Paul Challenge, a competition to find the single best idea to revitalize St. Paul. The prize: $1 million to implement the idea.
The St. Paul Foundation is fronting the award money, which comes out of a larger donation made four years ago by the Minneapolis-St. Paul 2008 Host Committee that ran the 2008 Republican National Convention.
Nearly 950 ideas were received and reviewed by volunteers, who narrowed the field based on the idea’s innovation, impact and sustainability. A panel of judges will choose three finalists, and the public will vote on the winner via e-mail and text messaging or at in-person events such as the State Fair.
The semifinalists were announced at the Great River Gathering, an annual St. Paul civic celebration that drew more than 900 Thursday night to RiverCentre. They are listed here, with their occupations and ideas:
Craig Blakely, planner for St. Paul Planning and Economic Development Department, art train; Herbert Chiou, chemist and volunteer, summer night markets; Sam DiVita, high school teacher, water bottle refilling stations; Amanda Duhon, VISTA program coordinator, Neighborhood Olympics; Traci Elder, business marketing; Tom Evers, Playworks executive director, school recess improvements;
Phil Gapp, technology CEO, community nonprofit Internet; Jane Hall, high school teacher, free swimming lessons for kids; Michele Hanson, planner for Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, DNR regional headquarters improvements; Stephanie Harr, Mounds Park cultural center; Lucas Havens, Genesys Works manager, digital student portfolios; John Hink, president and CEO, Wabasha Bridge wind energy;
Amy Hyatt-Blat, Wabasha Partners coordinator, Wabasha Avenue cultural and business strip; Amy Schroeder Ireland, outdoor bike signs; Andrea Klosowski, library-distributed tickets for kids; Joe Landsberger, author and researcher, better historical markers; Mary Morse Marti, nonprofit leader and author, St. Paul Family Folk School; Kerri Meyer, religious education director, community cannery;
Judith Morem, artist, Lowertown cultural center and garden; Adam Gabriel Napoli-Rangel, oral history of neighborhood art movements; Maya Park, teacher; Jamie Parker, Great River Floating Museum; Peter Pearson, president of Friends of the St. Paul Public Library, tool lending library; Benjamin Ransom, entrepreneur, cable railway;
Jack Ray, St. Paul Human Rights Department, St. Paul Center for Craft; Rick Risch, outdoor exercise bikes for schools; Marsha Shotley, Second Harvest Heartland official; Tracy Sides, wellness entrepreneur; Michelle Tran; Karen Anderson Vento, neighborhood bus loops.
Kevin Duchschere • 651-925-5035