Community Dividend

Fed Gov. Gramlich tours Phalen Corridor project in St. Paul

A summary of Federal Reserve Governor Edward Gramlich's July 2000 visit to St. Paul.

Published November 1, 2000  | November 2000 issue

On July 19, Edward Gramlich, member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, and Gary Stern, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, toured the Phalen Corridor, a large mixed-use redevelopment area on St. Paul's East Side. The Phalen Corridor boasts active residents and community groups, and its diverse population includes Hmong, Laotians, African Americans and Latinos.

More than 60 public, private and nonprofit partners from the area have joined forces as the Phalen Corridor Initiative. The organization works to create new business opportunities, jobs, housing and retail establishments for area residents. (For more information on the Phalen Corridor Initiative's successes to date and its upcoming projects, see the box below.)

Gov. Gramlich

Following the tour, Gov. Edward Gramlich (right) meets with Jim Erchul (left) of Dayton's Bluff Neighborhood Housing Services and Rick Johnsen of Aries Precision Metal (center). (Photo courtesy St. Paul Port Authority)

Gov. Gramlich

Gramlich and Erchul discuss Phalen Corridor redevelopment with Muffie Gabler of Wells Fargo Bank and Curt Milburn of the Phalen Corridor Initiative. (Photo courtesy St. Paul Port Authority)

Gov. Gramlich

While leading the tour, Curt Milburn describes a Phalen Corridor redevelopment project to Jessica Deegan, Phalen Corridor Initiative, and Gov. Gramlich.

Curt Milburn, Phalen Corridor Initiative project director, conducted the July tour, which visited the following sites:

  • Phalen Village—a development featuring green space, wetlands, commercial redevelopment and a planned townhouse complex;
  • The Job Bank—a neighborhood jobs and employment connection;
  • Edgerton Bridge—an elevated spot for viewing the initiative's road-improvement and transportation plan layout and seeing Phalen West, the next industrial project slated for development in the corridor;
  • Rivolli Bluff—the planned site of new housing; and
  • Williams Hill Business Center—formerly a polluted industrial site, now an industrial park.

At the conclusion of the tour, Governor Gramlich and President Stern met with Phalen Corridor Initiative partners including Dick Hanson, 3M and 3M Foundation; Muffie Gabler, Wells Fargo Bank; Lorrie Louder, St. Paul Port Authority; Jim Erchul, Dayton's Bluff Neighborhood Housing Services; Howard Siewert, owner of Ideal Printers; and Rick Johnsen, owner of Aries Precision Metal. The partners discussed their reasons for getting involved in the area's redevelopment project and the importance of having business, community and government sectors participate in the initiative.

"It's impressive to see the hard work and dedication of the Phalen Corridor partners and their willingness to seize opportunities for building a livable community. Touring a community that's undergoing revitalization and talking to the local partners provides the opportunity to witness economic growth firsthand."
Gary Stern, President, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis

"We're always excited to conduct tours for individuals like Governor Gramlich and President Stern. Showing them our work brings out our partners' pride and reconnects them to the business, community and government relationships that have been the keys to our success. It also gives us the opportunity to have visitors with a national perspective critique our work and introduce us to best practices from other projects nationwide."
Curt Milburn, Project Director, Phalen Corridor Initiative

The Phalen Corridor Initiative: Successes and upcoming projects

The Phalen Corridor Initiative is a community partnership working to rebuild the economic, social and physical prosperity of St. Paul's East Side. Initiative partners have achieved the following successes to date: the Williams Hill Business Center, which created six new businesses with 650 jobs; a new Job Bank and Eastside Work Resource Hub; the Johnson Achievement Plus Elementary School with an attached YMCA; the Ames Lake Wetland, which replaced a former parking lot; the construction of 29 mixed-income housing units at Phalen Village Town Homes; development of the East Metro Transit Facility, opening in 2001 with 300 projected jobs; and the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension Building, opening in 2002 with 300 employees.

Upcoming projects include constructing Phalen Boulevard, with groundbreaking scheduled for 2002; building more than 100 new housing units in the Rail Road Island Neighborhood, which will connect new housing with jobs, transit and greenspace; developing the Phalen Westminster site, with 270 jobs expected; converting 100 polluted acres into desirable business sites; connecting two regional bicycle and recreational trails; and linking East Side schools with a job-training curriculum.

For more information, contact Curt Milburn at (651) 772-6220, or, or visit