MINNEAPOLIS/ST. PAUL (6/17/2014) --Youth in Minneapolis' Southeast Como neighborhood will gain access to new sports equipment and clinics this year through one of six projects sharing $115,400 in equal funding from the University of Minnesota Good Neighbor Fund and Minnesota Vikings Partnership Fund.
Created with an initial investment of $1.5 million, the University's Good Neighbor Fund was established in 2007, when the state committed funding to construct TCF Bank Stadium on the U's Twin Cities campus. In seven years of fund operations, 49 projects have received more than $365,000 in grant support.
The Minnesota Vikings will make $90,000 cash and $35,000 in-kind contributions to the grant program in 2014 and again in 2015, as part of the team's agreement to play at the University while a new NFL stadium is constructed.
The University's Stadium Area Advisory Group approved grant awards for the following six projects for 2014:
• A $25,900 grant to the Southeast Como Improvement Association's Van Cleve Sports Equipment and Clinics will provide equipment for - and extend services to - more youth in an increasingly diverse neighborhood. A series of clinics are meant to attract new park users, teach fundamentals, and test new activities. The grant will also support clinic scholarships, and in return youth will volunteer time with the neighborhood association or another partner.
• The Marcy-Holmes Neighborhood Association's Connecting U Neighborhoods: Wayfinding for and Enhancing Our New Dinkytown Greenway will use $42,500 to create a signing and greeting plan for the Dinkytown Greenway trail and install a gateway identification kiosk to encourage travel by bike through University neighborhoods to and from TCF Bank Stadium and beyond.
• Marketing to Vikings Fans and Area Map for Sports Fans combines two projects sponsored by the Stadium Village Commercial Association and will be funded through a $35,000 in-kind contribution from the MN Vikings. This project will promote Stadium Village, Dinkytown, and West Bank/Cedar Riverside commercial districts to Vikings fans through an area map and other outreach efforts by the MN Vikings.
• The Office of Student and Community Relations at the University of Minnesota is partnering with a number of student organizations, police and the University District Alliance for Project Lighthouse. This project – supported with a grant of $15,00 – aims to improve exterior lighting on off-campus properties to help pedestrian safety in the neighborhoods surrounding campus.
• A $24,000 grant to the West Bank Business Association and partner Brian Coyle Community Center will support "Our Backyard" Sustainable Garden. That project will create raised bed garden plots at Brian Coyle to teach youth in the Cedar Riverside neighborhood basic gardening knowledge and skills. The garden will also add to the greening of the area. Building a portable outdoor stage at Brian Coyle will also bring the community together to tell their stories through artistic performances.
• Cedar-Riverside Explorers, a project of the West Bank Community Coalition, will be awarded a grant for $8,000. This project for youth 13-18 years old will provide opportunities for academic enrichment and engagement, mainly by visiting programs and events at the University of Minnesota and Augsburg College. Students at both schools will be recruited to host the youth and provide insight into college life.
The University of Minnesota Good Neighbor Fund is a resource for neighborhood communities that are adjacent to the Twin Cities campus. Its purpose is to enhance and protect the beauty, serenity, and security of the communities impacted by the operation of TCF Bank Stadium, the University's on-campus football stadium.