RHA STRATEGIC PLAN
The executive summary of our strategic planning engagement highlights RHA focus for the next three years and helped us confidently update our Vision and Mission statements. These statements are meant to be summations of our values and principles, as well as guideposts for our aspirations and our focus.
We envision a vital, diverse, and connected neighborhood built on our unique historic character that brings together and preserves our neighborhood for future generations to enjoy.
We build connected communities that celebrate our rich history and keep our diverse neighborhood safe.
View the slides below for a summary of the RHA Strategic Plan.
For .pdf click here.
LETTER FROM RHA PRESIDENT
Wednesday, April 12
Over the past 6 months, RHA has been engaged in Strategic Planning to better define its priorities and how those priorities are made actionable through a structured and scalable operating model. These priorities are laid out in our bylaws, reflected in our traditions and activities, informed by our membership, and maintained and executed by the board and volunteers. Historic Preservation, Parks and Garden Beautification, Social Events, Public Safety, and Community Partnerships remain central to RHA’s mission.
During Covid, Social Events became a priority for many of us. Unable to attend indoor or in-person events, we found creative ways to socialize and stay connected to our community. From 2020 to 2022, RHA hosted over a dozen neighborhood Walk-Abouts, held 3 Backyard Garden Socials, held two Christmas progressives, and provided a digital Holiday House Tour. From sidewalk poetry readings with St. Paul’s Artist Resident, to touring our neighborhood non-profits like Hallie Q. Brown and the Germanic American Institute, we offered an active and safe way to stay engaged with our neighbors.
Additionally, the past few years has seen an increase in the usage of our Parks and Gardens, as well as a need to fund their maintenance. Cochran Park has been at the top of this list with the Paul Manship sculpture and pool renovations. RHA has supported this work, in partnership with the City of Saint Paul by committing $25,000 towards the restoration, as well as successfully co-writing for the Minnesota Historic Society’s (MHS) Legacy Grant, worth $137,000. Today, RHA maintains a healthy Cochran fund of over $60,000.
Coming out of the last 3 years, new priorities have taken hold that threaten the historic nature and landscape of Ramsey Hill. The proposed Summit Avenue Regional Trail, Emerald Ash Borer tree removal, zoning variances and more. Specifically, the proposed Summit Avenue Regional Trail has created a mood of tension and distrust between our neighborhood and the City. An overwhelming majority of RHA’s membership have demonstrated firm opposition to the trail and this position continues to grow. We believe RHA has a responsibility to amplify the voices of its members and the community. We are committed to that purpose, and we believe RHA has been actively engaged to do just that. With that said, we can do more.
Last summer, RHA sponsored an event with SARPA and SOS to raise awareness of the City’s proposal. That turn out of over 150 was a strong reflection of our membership and a fraction of the thousands of neighbors signing on to petition the City against the current proposal. In the weeks and months that followed, we engaged with the City over email, phone calls and held an official recorded meeting with Parks and Recreation. RHA has regularly solicited feedback from our members, and these meetings were opportunities to directly convey those questions, concerns and expectations of our members and neighbors.
The Parks & Recreation department is not the only avenue to influence the City regarding the trail. RHA has reestablished quarterly meetings with our City Council Member, Russel Balenger. We held our first quarterly meeting with Russel on March 14th. This was an in-person meeting between the RHA Board, CM Balenger and his staff, lasting close to 2 hours. During this time, we conveyed the mood of the neighborhood, the feeling of distrust and lack of transparency with the City. We discussed the outside perception of the trail versus the material impact it would have in our State’s most historic neighborhood, and ensured that he was aware of the overwhelming disapproval of the proposal and the need for our City Council to weigh and reflect its residents’ voice in upcoming votes.
Later this week, the Parks & Recreation Commission will be holding an open meeting regarding the proposed trail. RHA has submitted a public comment reflecting much of the above. Additionally, RHA will be present at the meeting and will be prepared to defend its membership and add an institutional voice to the debate.
Beyond the trail, RHA continues to be engaged in many other important issues impacting our neighborhood, from creating a replanting program following the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) tree removal, to being a constant presence at our Public Safety meetings, as well as holding a key Board position with our City District Council, the SUPC. More information on our overall operating model will be shared in our coming Newsletter. In the meantime, RHA would like to share its appreciation of everything this neighborhood and its residents do every day to make it the best neighborhood in the state to call home.