By Mike Reynolds,
HMC Board Secretary
The Hamline Midway Coalition (HMC) engages the voice and power of the community to serve the neighborhood. HMC plays a specific role representing the Midway in the City of Saint Paul, but we also collaborate on numerous initiatives with community organizations and businesses, and seek always to support and amplify the work of community leadership.
I first got involved with HMC, long before becoming a Board member, in a project that directly supported emerging leaders. The LISN initiative (Leaders in Support of Neighborhood) recognized that many neighbors had vital ideas (about community gardens, art at intersections, and the rich history of this neighborhood) but weren’t sure how to make those ideas real, or how to shape a project. HMC helped devise a program that provided resources and built a network to empower those leaders to achieve their goals. This mission has continually brought me back to serve in the Coalition in the years since. We don’t just respond to city needs or react to problems. Being a board member has given me this extraordinary chance to learn more about what matters to my neighbors and about who they are, about their skills and joys and desires, and to help them achieve their goals. HMC empowers neighbors.
And we need your voice.
We invite any and all who share a love and passion for the Midway neighborhood to join the Board of Directors, or to explore other ways to connect with the Coalition. HMC’s annual election begins in October, with applications for the Board due on Nov. 23. Over the next two months, we invite interested community members to join us in social events, to see our work in various initiatives, to reach out for direct conversation with Board members and staff, and to attend the virtual Annual Meeting (on Tuesday, Nov. 10).
What is the Hamline Midway Coalition?
HMC is District Council 11, one of seventeen non-profit agencies separate from but charged by the City of Saint Paul to represent our local neighborhood’s needs around transportation, land use, and community development. Like many district councils, HMC’s reach is far broader. Our committees (Development, Transportation, and Environment) engage with the city but also created initiatives for safer streets, to develop an investment co-operative, and to support sustainable to-go packaging and reduce waste.
The coalition more broadly has worked to help empower a network of local small businesses, supported the efforts to shape Public Art along Snelling and throughout the Midway, and most recently helped respond to urgent needs in our community in the context of the coronavirus and the murder of George Floyd.
We’re more than just a board of directors, but a strong, active board is vital to the health and impact of the coalition.Right now, the board is helping to develop a Neighborhood Plan, a vision for what the Midway wants and will need to be in the next decade, in ways that support and sustain the diverse needs of our diverse community, and that maintains the strengths of our local identities in the face of economic development and change across Saint Paul. The Board is also, always, defined by and through its members. Your involvement as a Board member would help us to reframe and focus around concerns and opportunities that you see, from your position in this neighborhood.
Why serve on the Hamline MIdway Coalition Board?
Our reasons for serving are often grounded in our desire to learn more about the Midway, as well as to help HMC learn more about and better serve different members of the community.
Jen Hadley notes that she “wanted to be more connected to what is going on in the Midway, to see what I can do to connect people in the Midway and to represent the voices of residents who I know.”
Emma Kiley has been grateful to enrich her understanding of current issues through a deeper understanding of our history, and particularly in conversation with the many community leaders throughout the neighborhood who have been so vital to the ongoing health of the Midway.
As Garrett Backes puts it, serving on the board allows us to give back and to grow. A neighborhood is a vibrant, living thing – serving on the coalition is a chance to help nurture the ongoing vitality of our community, while continuing to benefit and learn from it.
How can I learn more?
One of the best ways to learn more about HMC is to talk with the people who are currently working with HMC. And although the pandemic complicates such interactions, we encourage you to make connections to learn more (and to help us think about what HMC can and should be). Reach out to anyone on the Board, or through the Coalition’s email (firstname.lastname@example.org) for a chance to connect directly by email, by phone, or over a safe, socially-distanced coffee. You can learn more about us, and how to connect, at https://www.hamlinemidway.org/about/board.
We will also host a (safe, socially-distanced) gathering at Burning Brothers on Thurday, Oct. 15, from 5:30-7 p.m. More information can be found at: https://bit.ly/2SsOFtT.
We will later have a virtual “happy hour”– an open forum accessible by phone or the web on Zoom – to connect with HMC Board and staff members, on Wednesday, Oct. 28, from 6:30-8 p.m. More information coming soon.
You can also (virtually) attend any board or committee meeting, or through various programs or initiatives in process, and see the work of HMC in action. Learn more about upcoming events at https://www.hamlinemidway.org/news_events.
Applications for board membership can be found on HMC’s website: https://www.hamlinemidway.org/about/board