By: Taleya Hamilton
A soccer mom suggesting more soccer fields for her children…
A young professional couple raising the concern of property value if a light rail system is installed next to their house…
These and many other local community concerns have been raised and addressed through the public meeting hosted by the ARISE/Summer of Solutions Team. ARISE (which stands for Alliance To Re-Industrialize For A Sustainable Economy) is a coalition of community residents, students, labor union and city leaders who have come together to create sustainable solutions to local redevelopment projects in their communities. Green manufacturing and multi-use development are the anchors to ARISE’s vision; however, clean energy, mass transit opportunities, and localization of basic services (i.e. waste management, food production, etc.) are significant players in formulating the sustainable solutions for job growth and a diverse tax base. One clear message ARISE wants to convey is that everyone from the soccer mom to the young professional couple can have a voice in the development of their community.
The Summer of Solutions team has been working diligently and progressively with ARISE throughout the summer to carry their message forward. Through the guidance of Lynn Hinkle (the ARISE visionary), participants have engaged in the various components of the vision, which include research for the universal template that is being created to promote ARISE in local communities, recruitment of land developers, and community outreach.
Currently, ARISE coalition and the Summer of Solutions team has centralized their efforts on a 135 acre site used by the Ford Motor Company in the Highland Park area of St. Paul, Minnesota. This site, established in 1924, has been an assembly plant producing the Ford Ranger. As the Ford Ranger sales significantly slumped in the past years, Ford Motor Company has decided to close the doors to its St. Paul location as soon as December 2011. This decision has sent St. Paul city planners and the Highland Park residents reeling for answers to mitigate the economic impact. Hundreds of workers will be laid off and a community that was built around the Ford Motor assembly plant will need to find a new local economic driver.
ARISE has recognized this concern of the area stakeholders as well as analyzed the valuable features of the land (i.e. the hydropower plant nearby and sand mine tunnels underneath the site) in order to develop renewable energy scenarios that will allow for the community to be self-sustaining in the next planning efforts devised. For example, ARISE is looking into converting the sand mine tunnels into ground source heating for the site as well as affordable housing options for the green manufacturing plant employees and their families.
ARISE coalition is an ongoing initiative that will continue after the summer months have passed. If you or anyone you know are interested in spreading the message of our work and providing additional expertise in the subject matters highlighted, please contact us 708-274-7344 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, visit our website at http://www.arisemn.org.