Finalists for $1M St. Paul idea challenge named

Voting begins today for St. Paul’s next million-dollar idea.

The St. Paul Foundation and Minnesota Idea Open have announced the three finalists that a panel of judges chose to vie for the competition’s top prize:

  • The Saint Paul Art Train: Recycled passenger rail cars would be transformed into rentable workspaces for creative activity and business in the West Midway Industrial District.
  • The Saint Paul Center for Creative Arts: A hub of studios would be established for youth to learn and practice various creative disciplines.
  • The Urban Oasis: A food hub and event center would be created at the Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary.

Any Minnesota resident can participate in the voting, which begins today and ends on Labor Day. People can vote on the contest’s website, in person at the State Fair or at pop-up sites throughout the community.

Organizers say nearly 1,000 ideas were narrowed down by dozens of community volunteers, leading to a list of 30 semifinalists. Then a panel of nine judges picked the three finalists. Participants were asked how they could use $1 million to make St. Paul great.

“Minnesotans have big dreams for the future of Saint Paul, and the finalist ideas are great examples of the pride and imagination residents have for our capital city,” Carleen Rhodes, president and CEO of The Saint Paul Foundation, said in a news release. “I hope every Minnesotan casts a vote to decide how the $1 million will be invested in our city’s future.”