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.

Bill Hanley

Bill Hanley lives, works and owns property in Lowertown. He currently designs sophisticated Public Engagement media projects for organizations ranging from KARE11 to MPR to Twin Cities PBS (TPT).   Earlier, he worked full-time for TPT, leading the creation and operation of hundreds of major media projects including the Friday night “Almanac” series.  He has worked in Lowertown continuously for 28 years.
In the past year, Bill designed and led the “Downtown Live” series of quarterly Public Engagement events for the people of downtown Saint Paul.  He serves as CRC’s  External Affairs Officer and on CRC’s Skyway Governance Advisory Committee.

John Mannillo
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.

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.

 

Tyson Jeffers

I am an employee in Downtown Saint Paul and I have worked for the St. Paul Saints for 5 years, 3 of which have been at CHS Field in downtown St. Paul. I have a particular interest area of downtown? Ex. Lowertown, Rice Park, Mears Park, etc…I was a part of the move from Midway Stadium to CHS Field and understand the relationship the Saints would like to have with residents and businesses around the ballpark. I have sat on the Board for the previous 2 years and have enjoyed learning of upcoming projects and making suggestions/recommendations on how those can have a lasting impact on downtown.

The top 3 issues I see in the downtown or surrounding areas now are Homelessness/beggars, perception that it isn’t safe at night, and I would like to witness the downtown as a place that people come and stay for longer periods of time. It is a beautiful downtown that attracts many people throughout the seasons for entertainment and leisure. I want to ensure that the St. Paul Saints are represented and have the opportunity to address needs/concerns from neighbors of CHS Field and how the Saints can improve those relationships.

My vision for the future of downtown is for people to recognize it as a destination to visit and for the number of new businesses and economic development to grow, which will attract new visitors.

James McClean

I live and work downtown. I started working downtown in 2010 and enjoyed it so much I moved downtown the following year. I initially lived in the Lowry building (and still own a rental property there) but now live in the Pointe. I work on policy issues for Regions Hospital, so spend a lot of time there and around the state Capitol. I like to hang out in Lowertown. Almost daily walks through Mears Park and all the surrounding activities are what originally attracted me to move downtown. I was draw by the liveliness and momentum downtown but I stay for the convenience. I love being able to walk to work and the grocery store, and have easy access to the light rail. I enjoy not needing to drive on a daily basis.
The 3 top issues I see currently in the downtown or surrounding areas are: Growing residential population, increasing property values and rent, significant commercial property vacancy. Downtown Saint Paul is a great place to be because of the diversity, vitality, and convenience. I serve on the CRC board because I enjoy connecting with and learning from others that love downtown life and want to see downtown thrive.
I envision a bright future for downtown Saint Paul as a welcoming neighborhood, a vibrant center of commerce, and a world class entertainment destination. The CRC can play a significant role in that effort and I look forward to working toward a more engaging and inclusive organization that will serve as a more powerful forum and voice for the varied stakeholders in this great downtown community.

Jennifer Hensley

I am the Director of Operations for the Minnesota Museum of American Art (the M) for the last year in Downtown St. Paul. I have a particular interest area Lowertown and the “donut hole” as my area of downtown is sometimes referred to. I’ve worked a majority of my career in the world of downtown development authorities and downtown redevelopment focusing on placemaking, downtown management, and governmental oversight. The top 3 issues I am experiencing in the downtown or surrounding areas are: Inactive “dead zones” that create problem areas, barriers, whether real or misconception, that make it difficult to activate or utilize the downtown assets or empty spaces. How to consistently bring visitors into downtown St. Paul; getting visitors to explore or stay for more than one destination. The people of downtown St. Paul are excited and ready to make this area a vibrant, enjoyable place. Property owners, City departments, businesses, artists, and others are all very easy to work with and enthusiastic about the possibilities, and the area is booming with opportunity. As the M grows, I want to stay apprised and involved as we become a destination within the District lending my varied experience and knowledge to the Board. My short-term vision for downtown Saint Paul is that I hope that the downtown continues to grow smartly but also in a way that encourages thinking outside the box to keep the area lively and accessible. Long term, the downtown area needs a solid mix of concrete and green space, low cost and high end, safety and entertainment, art and business, to maintain an authentic feel. Authenticity and a continued feeling of “this is a place for me” is a necessity.

Nigel Parry

Nigel Parry is an award-winning communications specialist who works on website, print and logo design, and publicity and public relations in the governmental, nonprofit/charity, advocacy, news, arts, small business, and personal sectors. nigelparry.net clients have included international organizations such as the United Nations, city and national governments from Pittsburgh to Palestine, educational institutions around the world including Columbia University and Birzeit University, and charities/nonprofits in the United Kingdom and the United States including the Teacher Support Network, Changing Attitude UK & Ireland, and the National Lawyers Guild. Nigel has worked on communications for New York gallery openings, film and comedy festivals, and political events including independent reporting during 2003’s “Shock and Awe” in Iraq, and producing Occupy Wall Street Livestreams, which were key in spreading the protest from one corporate park in New York City to over 1,000 cities worldwide.

Nigel has lived in Lowertown, Saint Paul, on and off since 2001, and has worked in Lowertown with the Saint Paul Almanac, Tilsner Artists’ Cooperative, Golden’s Lowertown, the Black Dog Cafe, Lowertown Wine & Spirits, and Ramsey County, among others. As well as curating art shows, booking shows and coordinating events, and playing in a local band, Nigel maintains the lowertown.info web/mobile guide to the neighborhood, discussion and buy/sell/free Facebook groups for the neighborhood, and Twitter news feeds including the hard news/sports hub @LowertownInfo and the events hub @LowertownLive. Nigel is the creator of the Lowertown Eye network of community-controlled infoscreens currently visible in the Northern Warehouse office window and in Golden’s Lowertown, ready to spread to every venue and ground floor elevator in Lowertown.

Nigel is concerned about how the “Lowertown Gold Rush” of the last five years has resulted in a culturally monotonous streetscape comprised entirely of craft beer bars and expensive rentals and condos, the apparent abandonment of key tenets and elements of the Lowertown Master Plan—supposedly the official City plan for the neighborhood—and a depopulation of Lowertown’s creative community. It was out of these concerns that he ran for the CapitolRiver Council Board, with the hopes of constructively engaging the City, pressing it to be accountable to its own decisions, and implementing new plans to both stop and reverse gentrification, in order to preserve the unique community here.

Nick Cusick

I am an employee in downtown Saint Paul at Visit Saint Paul. I have been there two years as of July 2017 I’m interested in all areas of downtown, as Visit Saint Paul promotes and works with business in all areas. Visit Saint Paul’s mission is to generate economic growth for Saint Paul by effectively marketing the RiverCentre campus, Saint Paul and the region as a preferred convention and tourism destination. Visit Saint Paul oversees management of the Saint Paul RiverCentre Convention Center and Legendary Roy Wilkins Auditorium.                                                                                                                                                     Before returning to the Saint Paul area, where I grew up, I lived in southeast Iowa where I was the Director of the Muscatine Convention & Visitors Bureau. During my time there, I was a member of the Downtown Action Alliance. It was through those experiences, along with educating myself at that time, that I discovered what a downtown means to a destination and community of any size.                                                                                                                                                                                        The top 3  issues I see in the downtown or surrounding areas now are;  Skyways, Convention Center Hotel, and Retail.                   The downtown is the heartbeat of the city – the central hub that ties together all of Saint Paul’s great neighborhoods, making it a mix of people, culture, businesses and entertainment.                                                                                                                                                                                                            I work downtown in the RiverCentre and promote downtown daily at Visit Saint Paul. I also live less than 2 miles from downtown. It’s where I work and where I play. I would be honored to do what I can for the never-ending pursuit of making downtown a better place to live, work and visit.

My visions for the future of downtown in the short term, I’d like to see some of the things already being worked on executed: Street Team, Skyways, Security, Rice Park improvements, etc. In the long term, I’d like to see an increase in the amount of visitors that come to downtown not just for events. More visitors that come for the attractions, restaurants, retail, etc. In addition, a convention center hotel would allow us to be more competitive and bring in more conferences and conventions to the downtown area.

 

 

 

 

More Board Bio’s Coming soon………..