Construction is almost complete for the Rondo Center for Diverse Expression at the Rondo Commemorative Plaza (Fisk and Concordia Streets). Formerly the New Jerusalem Baptist Church, the center will hold archives from the Rondo community and serve as a gathering place for artistic and community events that bring the neighborhood together around its resilient past and vibrant future. Charter funders for the project include the St Paul Association of Realtors and St Paul Rotary.
In Spring 2021, the Center plans to have a garden designed and planted at the entrance to the building. Volunteer designers and master gardeners willing to work with the community to realize this vision are encouraged to reach out to Marvin Anderson.
From 1865 to 1966, Rondo Avenue was a ribbon weaving together the city’s black community. The Rondo neighborhood stretched from Rice Street west to Lexington Parkway, about 150 square blocks, and was home to many middle-class families of doctors, lawyers, shopkeepers and schoolteachers.
Interstate 94 was built in the 1950s right through the heart of this vibrant neighborhood, bulldozing hundreds of homes and displacing families. The Rondo Commemorative Plaza (2016), the new Rondo Center for Diverse Expression (2020) and the Rondo Garden (2021) keep these threads of history alive in our community.