Roseville, St Paul, Maplewood, and Ramsey County are developing short- and long-term vision plans for the Rice Street-Larpenteur Avenue intersection. The cities see this node as becoming a high energy, mixed-use “Gateway” that serves the neighborhoods and broader community, which includes some of the lowest-income census tracts and a high degree of diversity. Senior Planner Brian Lloyd reflects that, “It’s an area that has seen disinvestment for years and years and the visioning study is designed to bring some attention and some investment both from the public entities as well as…promoting private investment.” The “Gateway” focuses on safety, health, and social equity and will be linked by a continuous multi-modal transportation network with improved streetscape improvements and access to natural features/amenities. Design and redevelopment will promote pedestrian activity, support local business vitality, and create a greater sense of place.
As Roseville updates its comprehensive plan, the city is reconsidering how it frames the past. For many years, the plan’s narrative began with White settlers. Senior Planner Bryan Lloyd however, acknowledges Native Americans as the land’s first inhabitants. Through a series of critical conversations with a nearly all-White planning commission, the updated comprehensive plan will include a description of the full history of the land where Roseville now stands along with the history of racial restrictive covenants that created areas of segregation. Lloyd believes that by recognizing the contradictory and vulnerable parts of the area’s history towards Native Americans and people of color, the Roseville community will be able to have more meaningful conversations and start making steps towards greater racial equity. These steps could manifest in the physical environment through signage and name changes of important places.
Acknowledging the Deep History
Photo credit: Roseville Historical Society
Rice Street Gardens have become a cultural meeting place for the immigrant populations living in Roseville–26.2% of the city’s population is now people of color, including many new immigrants. The 250 garden plots are used predominantly by Nepali, Hmong, and Karen refugees living in Roseville, Maplewood, and St. Paul. Accustomed to growing their own food, the gardens provide the refugee and immigrant residents with a sense of home, access to healthy foods, and exercise opportunities. Studies have long revealed the mental and physical benefits of gardening (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2017; Van Den Berg & Custers, 2011; Wang & MacMillan, 2013). Potlucks occur throughout the growing season and act as a means for residents to share diverse foodways. Fees are kept low and community partners provide necessary resources like land, water, and financial support.
Rice Street Gardens
Photo credit: Sherry Sanders from Rice Street Gardens