Meet our NEW Board of Directors

Paul Mandell
I am an employee in the Capitol area of Saint Paul, tho as head of the CAAPB, I have authority to hire (our staff is currently 3 with 2 part-time fellows).I have thirty years all at the Capitol Area Architectural and Planning Board at the MN State Capitol. I have a particular interest in the State Capitol and its connections to downtown. As a professional planner, always interested in improving the build environment, public realm, and quality architecture. These are my top issues in the downtown or surrounding areas now. Pedestrian pathways and amenities (incl. signage, trash receptacles and nice building frontages). View corridors to key landmarks for orientation (Capitol, Cathedral, River). Streetscapes (trees, banners, amenities). Saint Paul is a great place to be because I have an appreciation for the older, more stoic civic architecture and human scale streets. I have an interest in keeping Saint Paul true to itself rather than just competing to be Minneapolis. My visions for the future of downtown and the surrounding areas is a place like Boston and some other smaller-scale cities that leave a positive impression on visitors and one that can focus on its unique offerings and character to attract business and visitors

Bill Englund
I have been the pastor of the First Baptist Church of St Paul located at 499 Wacouta Street for 27 years. I have a particular interest in the area of Lowertown. Community building is what a pastor does. Working with volunteers to make downtown a better place to work, live and play is what keeps me energized. These are my top 3 issues in the downtown or surrounding areas now. River balcony planning and execution. Wacouta Commons development. The ROW assessment challenge. Saint Paul is a great place to be because of the history and human scale. I have a desire to make a difference in the downtown neighborhood. My visions for the future of downtown and the surrounding areas is that I hope that somehow, someway the CRC can reach out to the downtown workers. I also hope that neighbors downtown can find meaningful ways to interact.

Chris Thomforde
My wife Kathy and I have lived in St. Paul since 2013 in the Wacouta Commons Park neighborhood. I am particularly interested in the overall vitality, beauty, and wellbeing of Wacouta Commons Park and the residents who live in the neighborhood surrounding the Commons. When I retired, four years ago, I wanted to use my life experiences to improve the quality of life in my particular neighborhood. “Think globally and act locally.” These are my top 3 issues in downtown and the surrounding areas. How do we develop a sense of community in District 17, given the diversity of people here–rich, poor, White, Black, homeless, residents, owners of property, workers traveling in from various locales, believers, seekers, doubters, young, old, middle-aged. Given these artificial categories, what is that holds us all together in addition to geography? In particular, how do we learn from, engage, and be neighbors to the many Somali and Ethiopian men, women, and children in our neighborhoods? I do not see how much of the current development, bars and restaurants and baseball fields, has much to do with their lives. How might we encourage greater community wide information sharing? Many things are happening but who knows what and when and how much and why? I like St. Paul because it is a pleasant place to live and because its vitality is sufficient to allow for imagining an even more vital future. CRC has the potential to be an effective vehicle for addressing the concerns and hopes I have identified above. Many differences will and should exist in any community of individuals, but how do we work together to identify and address those common issues which diminish our life together while nurturing and advancing those dynamics of community which make life deeply satisfying.

Sharon Boerbon Hanson                                                                                                          I have been a resident of downtown Saint Paul since 2012. I was a working artist for 14 years so I am particularly interested in the Lowertown art community. I also have an ongoing interest in civic affairs. My major concerns currently are the proliferation of bars and lack of retail at street level; open drug use in Mears Park; and the loss of many working artists owing to sales of properties where they worked/lived. Saint Paul is a great place to live because of the social community in downtown. Restaurants, parks, museums, music/theater and galleries in walkable distance, as well as services such as grocery, pharmacy, bank offer a convenient lifestyle. A sense of social commitment and a desire to make a difference compel me to be part of the CRC. My visions for the future of downtown and the surrounding areas are: short term—increasing citizen involvement in CRC to bring concerns to the Mayor and City Council; long term—a better mix of business on street level (like Grand Avenue has) that encourage people to visit, shop, stay, enjoy the area.

 

Jeanne Hall
I have lived at River Park Lofts in Lowertown since 2006. My, what changes we have seen! I am interested in the Lower Landing Park, Mears, improving communication and participation among residents, and District Council relationship to City. I was involved in SHA District Council 16 for 20 years and involved with the Capitol budget processes. These are my top 3 issues in the downtown or surrounding areas. Parking, need for Park rehab, and citizen participation. Saint Paul is a great place to be because of diversity, restaurants, music and theater. I am compelled to be part of the CRC to work on Skyways, parks, and building neighborhood for residents. My visions for the future of downtown are balanced growth and involvement.

John Manillo
I am a self-employed business owner since 1976 in Lowertown. I have a particular interest in Lowertown. I am a developer specializing in preservation. I am also a commercial real estate broker. These are my top issues in the downtown or surrounding areas. Human scale and manageability. I am compelled to be part of the CRC because I helped found the organization for the improvement of the community. The details matter if we want to succeed for the future of downtown.

Sandra Erickson
I am currently serving my second term as a CRC Board Member. I am a building owner (Allen Building) in Lowertown and have been a resident for the past 16 years. My background is quite varied from traveling the world as a flight attendant for 15+ years, owning a retail furniture/accessories/design store and currently managing a commercial office building, including leasing, design build outs, etc. St. Paul has tremendous potential and I am optimistic about its future. However, I am concerned about current safety issues, lack of cleanliness/maintenance, maintaining adequate parking and overall improving our image to attract business, residents and visitors. I hope that some good decisions can be made to help attract retail to downtown. There are several nearby areas that I find attractive from many perspectives such as Highland Park, MN and Hudson, WI. They are each full of life and offer a wide variety of attractions with businesses booming. I would like to see some of that artistic energy with boutiques and other small businesses mixed in with our many residential and commercial spaces. This could be a much more welcoming, bustling and thriving community if the right direction is taken. I hope CRC will be a part of the equation in making this an even better city. I am very excited about the future of Capital River Council. With the recent election, there will be new voices joining the conversation and adding new perspectives. I appreciate the opportunity to be on the CRC and hope to be a positive influence as a Board Member. I’ve met many new people and have learned so much while serving. I continue to learn new things every day about this city and its history. I look forward to robust and respectful discussions as we make recommendations to City Council on important matters that affect us all. If St. Paul is successful, we all win and this will be a prospering and safe place for us to live, work and relax in.

Barry Cipra
I am a resident of Saint Paul, living City Walk Condominiums, since 2006. I personally find the downtown areas of interest, the list includes the Science Museum, the History Center, and the Minnesota Museum of American Art. I got involved in downtown mainly because my wife and I have a condo in the middle of downtown, and we enjoy many of the amenities that St. Paul has to offer. I would like to contribute to enhancing the downtown experience of everyone who lives, works, or visits here. The top 3 issues I am focused on in downtown or surrounding areas and the ones I have spent time discussing with others are; Skyway conditions, the fate of the Police Annex at Pedro Park, and Street parking (days and hours of metered parking). Downtown St. Paul has a lot to offer, from sports at CHS stadium and the Xcel center, to music at the Ordway, to its lively Lowertown arts scene, to its world class Science Museum. Its annual Jazz Festival and its biannual Art Crawl are tremendous attractions. The skyway does an excellent job of tying things together — a literal “highway” through downtown. I see the CRC as an excellent venue for bringing people together who have common interests and goals pertaining to downtown St. Paul. I foresee a virtuous circle of increasing vibrancy and continued population growth for the core downtown that will attract additional businesses and visitors. By mid-century, the transition to driverless cars may render downtown parking lots and garages as necessary as stables for horses. Any plans with long term consequences should take this into account.

Evelyn Doyle-Walker
I am a resident and employee in downtown St. Paul. I have lived in downtown St. Paul for 11 years, currently reside at Kellogg Square Apts., for 9 of those years. I’ve been employed downtown St. Paul for over 35 years, is currently employed at the Metropolitan Council for 14 years. I do not have a particular area of interest, I walk a lot and enjoy taking in all the goodness and accessibility of the downtown area. Walking the river is the best stroll. I have done community organizing while living in the Hamline-Midway area. My work at the Metropolitan Council gives me access to learn more about land use, community development, transportation, and housing redevelopment. These are my top 3 issues in the downtown or surrounding areas. High rents, no retail, better security in the skyway on the weekends. I came to downtown for accessibility. I am a non-driver and it is very easy for me to get from point A to point B. Safety is another factor, although there is need for improvement, I feel safe living in downtown St. Paul. Being a part of CRC will enable me to be more active, informed and engaged in my community. Build stronger relationships with business owners and residents. I hope that the downtown can have major national night out festivities. I would also like the downtown to have more retail stores like Target or Walmart.

Mackenzie Kelly
I am a resident (Homeowner), and Employee (Work from Home) in downtown Saint Paul. I have resided in the Lowertown and the Downtown area for over five years. I am excited about the revitalization of Downtown Saint Paul, particular Wabasha Street. Pedro Park, Rice Park, Mears Park, and maintaining green space in the city is an interest of mine. The untapped potential of the riverfront development is very intriguing and we must take advantage of what the beautiful river has to offer the city. Working out of my home for a majority of the time in Downtown St. Paul allows me to experience the city from sunrise to sunset. I get the pleasure to experience the amazing culture, locals, tourists and businesses every day. The passion I have for the continued revitalization of this area is what led to my involvement. These are my top 3 issues in the downtown or surrounding areas now? Metered parking until 10 PM on the weekdays penalizes downtown residents and their guests. It disincentives’ visitors to attend local events and businesses. Businesses closing early due to lack of foot or vehicle traffic. Panhandling and loitering that often isn’t addressed or enforced. The local events, art, live music, restaurants, breweries, parks, and convention spaces are unmatched. I am compelled to be part of the CRC because engaging with business owners, residents and tourists is so exciting. The opportunity to be involved in the community and to be something bigger than myself is compelling. I wish for continued commercial and residential development; especially in the immediate downtown area. And that our city become a sought after for everything from music to sports and entertainment. Keep St. Paul small, but competitive.

More Board Bio’s Coming soon………..