Music in Pedro Park

Music In Pedro Park Flyer

Project Summary - 9/28/2020

Lowertown Musician Ken Takata filled out a CRC Project Idea form. CRC Chair Shevek McKee reached out to Ken and discussed the details and budget of the idea.

The Downtown Alliance (SPDA) and Friends of Mears Park had been doing similar events in Mears Park in the months preceding this Project Idea. Shevek reached out to the SPDA to inquire about permitting or other city requirements for activating a park space.

Emma Burns from the SPDA reached out to Saint Paul Parks and Recreation, who issued an ongoing permit to SPDA for activations in Pedro from 8 am to 8 pm through the end of September. Emma also spoke with Senior Commander Jeremy Ellison about the electrical outlet in Pedro Park and he said it should be working fine but they occasionally need to turn it off when it’s being used in an unauthorized way. If that’s ever the case he said he can coordinate getting it turned on.

SPDA further offered to finance and help promote TWO events, but requested that CRC/Shevek take on the responsibility of booking and paying the musicians. Shevek asked the CRC board about accepting this proposal, there was limited response. Shevek and SPDA agreed SPDA would pay musicians directly and Shevek would coordinate with Ken Takata to arrange musicians and submit proper financial paperwork (Invoices and W9s).

Shevek reached out to the surrounding Pedro Park businesses to bring them in the loop and provide input on preferred day of the week. These businesses were Lunds, Black Sheep, Keys Cafe, Camp Bar, Sawatdee, Smallest Cog, and Tin Whiskers. Only Keys responded, suggesting Tuesday would work best for them, but were excited to have anything activating Pedro Park. (Logistics ended up making Fridays work best).

The dates of September 11 & 25, 2020 6-7:30pm were firmed up. Shevek created flyers, based on the Mears event flyers, to use for promotion of the two events. Shevek reached out Councilmember Noecker, SPPD Commanders Mollner & Ellison, and Joel Franklin of the Community Ambassadors program to let them know of the dates. Shevek also gathered contact info for the managers of the surrounding residential buildings – The Pointe, City Walk, The Penfield, Rossmor, Produce Exchange Building, and R7 Lofts – and sent info to pass along to residents.

Flyers were printed and distributed to neighboring businesses 8 days prior to the events (Also to Naomi Family Residence). Patrick McCutchan via MSP Excite and R7 lofts provided a live stream of the 9/25/20 event (linked below).

Additional Info

More photos from the 9/11/20 Event

MSP Excite Video from Stream of 9/25/20 Event

Project Contacts

Name Title Organization  Email (if public) Notes
Shevek McKee Chair CapitolRiver Council [email protected] Coordination/Graphic Design
Ken Takata Musician/Artist   on file Coordinated Musicians/Equipment
Emma Burns Project Manager Saint Paul Downtown Alliance on file Coordinated Permitting/Financing
Carol Owner Keys Cafe on file Outreach Contact
Kim   Black Sheep Pizza on file Outreach Contact
Bill, Katie Owner Camp Bar on file Outreach Contact 
Vicki Manager Lunds on file Outreach Contact 
Cyndy Owner Sawatdee on file Outreach Contact 
Andy Operations Tin Whiskers on file Outreach Contact 
Mark Owner Smallest Cog on file Outreach Contact 
Bill Bldg. Manager R7 Lofts on file Residential Contact
Tess Bldg. Manager  The Pointe on file Residential Contact
Bruce Bldg. Manager  City Walk on file Residential Contact 
Danna Bldg. Manager  Rossmor on file Residential Contact 
Hannah Bldg. Manager  Produce Exchange on file Residential Contact 
Matt Bldg. Manager  The Penfield on file Residential Contact 
Jeremy Ellison Snr. Commander Saint Paul Police Dept. [email protected]  
Jesse Mollner Commander, Downtown Beat Saint Paul Police Dept. [email protected]  

Project Idea Submission - 9/09/2020

Music In Pedro Park and Other Public Spaces

The goal is to create a more inviting space in Pedro Park for the community by using live music (specifically tunes from the Great American Songbook) to complement existing landscaping, gardening, and the public seating already in Pedro Park. Community involvement, attendance, and participation, and documentation of this could provide strong evidence to support maintaining Pedro Park as a public space. (I would also be interested in extending this project to other parks in District 17.) An example of a similar project I have participated in is given in a video linked below

Prepared by

Ken Takata, 8/9/2020


Pedro Park (and other parks in District 17)

How does this fit the CRC Mission?

Since its conversion to a public space, Pedro Park has provided the community (and specifically the block surrounding it) with a valuable meeting place and a location to enjoy the downtown/Lowertown area. I use it frequently. My project would build upon the work done thus far to create a new and innovative park. The music (see video for example) would complement the gardening and available seating by providing a soundtrack for the space. The goal is to draw people into the park, albeit in a safe manner with appropriate physical distancing.

What are the first steps to take?

The first steps are contacting collaborative artists to assist in performances. I have been working on this and currently have the personnel to begin the project immediately if funding is available.

Estimated Schedule

If the council would like to begin implementing the project in 2020, it would be necessary to act quickly. The primary constraint is the weather. If the temperature is below the mid-60s, community involvement and participation will be reduced. The project may be able to continue, however, in the spring.

Other organizations that might support this project?

If the project could also include Mears Park as one of the public spaces, then the Friends of Mears Park may be relevant. The St. Paul Downtown Alliance may also be interested as they have sponsored music events in Mears and other locations. [Friends of Pedro Park would also likely be interested]

What community engagement do you think would be involved?

Special Community Forum
The point of the project is to provide free events at Pedro Park for the public to attend. Community engagement is crucial.

Estimated project budget

< $2,500

Specific funding source idea?

MN State Arts Board. I am currently applying for a grant. Businesses local to Pedro Park may also be interested in sponsoring events there.

Additional Info

I have prior experience in playing music in public spaces in District 17. Previous events include Pop-ups at Central Station and also music in Mears Park. The link provided is video from a recent performance sponsored by the St. Paul Downtown Alliance.

Youtube video of July 2020 Performance in Mears Park:


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  • Shevek McKee
    published this page in Our Work 2020-09-28 12:25:04 -0500