ST. PAUL, Minn. - A once vibrant neighborhood is being honored by the Central Corridor Light Rail project. The Victoria Street station is being decorated with images of persons who were fixtures of the old Rondo community of Saint Paul.
Much of the Rondo community, which was a center of Minnesota's African-American community was displaced by the construction of Interstate 94 through the Twin Cities. Present residents of the neighborhood wanted a tribute to what Rondo had once been. The light rail planners were happy oblige.
"In our early meetings with the community, they really wanted it to be about, a little bit about their history and people that have really made it a great place," said Foster Willey, the artist who created the cast concrete and terra cotta sculptures. "All of the portraits were sculpted in clay originally and then molded and cast."
There are 17 images from nationally famous Life Magazine photographer Gordon Parks to locally famous Tiger Jack Rosenbloom who was the proprietor of a tiny store on Dale Street near the Interstate. Others include college professor Mahmoud El-Kati, former Minneapolis mayor Sharon Sayles Belton and Model Cities official Beverley Oliver Hawkins.
The Central Corridor light rail line is to open and begin carrying passengers in the Spring of 2014.
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