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2003 Annual Report

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The Hamline Midway Coalition (HMC) is a community-based non-profit organization dedicated to making the Hamline Midway neighborhood a better place to live and work.

HMC Organizational Structure and Administration

Board and Staff: HMC is governed by a 19-member board of directors, 16 of whom are residential delegates and alternates elected by registered members. The seated board appoints delegates nominated by institutions, namely: Hamline University; local businesses (up to 3) and congregations (up to 2). HMC’s staff number five. Staff work is supported by occasional contractors and several student interns each year.

History and Programs: HMC taps a 30 year tradition of grassroots citizens’ participation and leadership to bring constituents, partners and resources together for healthy community change–a stronger local economy, increased safety, better opportunities for youth and families, physical improvements and a sense of community pride. In 1999, HMC completed a comprehensive Hamline Midway Community Plan co-sponsored by Hamline Midway Area Rehabilitation Corporation (H-MARC), Midway Chamber of Commerce, Midway Family YMCA, and University UNITED. A broad cross-section of some 350 constituents and experts informed the Community Plan.

HMC’s vision, guided by the Community Plan, translates into the following programs: Community Economic Development; Youth Development; Planning and Participation Community Building; and Stewardship and Crime Prevention.

Collaborations and Partnerships

HMC works closely with these neighborhood organizations: H-MARC, Midway Chamber of Commerce, University UNITED, Hamline University, schools, churches, recreation center staff and booster clubs.

Geography: The Hamline Midway neighborhood is located in north central St. Paul. It is bordered by Burlington Northern Railroad to the north, University Avenue to the south, Transfer Road to the west, and Lexington Parkway to the east.

History: The Hamline Midway neighborhood was founded as the Village of Hamline in the 1880’s when Hamline University moved here from Red Wing. As the Twin Cities developed over the following decades, Hamline Midway became a transportation hub due to its proximity between the two cities and to the development of the railroad’s transfer site. During the post WWII era, the automobile and freeways, and related planning and public policies, have transformed what was once a neighborhood with a vital civic life to one that is passed through rather than a destination. Most recently, in the early 1980’s, the widening of Snelling Avenue marked this trend.

Strengths and Accomplishments

HMC’s key strength is its ability to engage its diverse constituency–residents, business owners and representatives of churches, schools, institutions and neighborhood associations – toward outcomes that benefit the people who live and work in the neighborhood. Our annual report provides a complete account of HMC’s accomplishments in 2001, some of which are highlighted here:

  • In 2001, 650 volunteers contributed 13,500 hours of time, and HMC hosted nearly 200 gatherings involving over 1,700 people in the historic Hamline Park Building.
  • Implemented a $300,000 program of grants and loans to improve commercial structures within the Hamline Midway neighborhood. This project will leverage a minimum of another $300,000 in private investment, with $150,000 in grants and $150,000 in loans available to local businesses on a dollar for dollar matching basis.
  • Trained fourteen participants, 10 women and 4 men in the Micro Entrepreneur Training Program, done in partnership with the Neighborhood Development Center.
  • Continued to work towards implementation of the Snelling Avenue Design project.
  • Expanded a unique after-school program for youth in grades 1 through 6 using teen mentors.
  • Increased the number of blocks clubs from 63 to 68 to foster citizen social interaction and mutual support.
  • Block Clubs helped stop eight drug house operations during the year, through problem-solving and Block Watch activities which include observing and calling the police when necessary.
  • Partnering With Others-HMC is a member of the Midway Chamber of Commerce and a collaborative working to improve programming and services in the neighborhood.


Historically a predominantly white, working class neighborhood, the Hamline Midway’s nearly 12,000 residents (4,800 households) are increasingly diverse and young.

  • According to 2000 census data, the number of people of color living in the Hamline Midway increased from 13% to 26% in 10 years (13% Black, 5% Asian, 4% Hispanic, 1% American Indian, 3% multi-racial).
  • The number of elderly adults has decreased to 1,054 while working-age adults (ages 18 – 64) number 8,307.; Youth under the age of 18 number 2,461 or 18% of the population.
  • There are 4,866 occupied housing units (both owner-occupied and rental), 63 more than in 1990
  • Of these occupied housing units, 1,885 are rental (an increase of 6 units since 1990), and 2,981 are owner-occupied (an increase of 57 units since 1990)
  • Vacancy rate of all housing units dropped to 3.4% from 4.5% in 1990.
  • Violent crime decreased from 939 to 905 per 100,000 people and property crime was down from 6,803 to 6,513 per 100,000 people.

Economy: Light industry (warehousing, railroad transfer station, printing, light manufacturing) is concentrated along the northern and western borders of the neighborhood. There are an estimated 700 businesses in the neighborhood, 78 of which are located along Snelling Avenue (between University Avenue and Pierce Butler Route). Roughly two-thirds of Snelling Avenue businesses are locally and independently owned, and employ five employees or less. Hamline Midway is the hub for Korean-owned businesses in the Twin Cities, which include two restaurants, a cultural association, a grocery, a billiards hall and a beauty shop. Many of the neighborhood’s businesses are considered destination businesses (that is they draw customers regionally because they provide unique products and services).

The Hamline Midway neighborhood is a neighborhood in the balance – that is, if opportunities are leveraged and assets are strengthened, this neighborhood can be a cohesive stronghold of affordable and stable properties that contribute to the quality of life of the city and the region. If the neighborhood is left alone, it can slide into disrepair and be overtaken by neglect, crime, and plummeting values. Hamline Midway can foster a welcoming and supportive atmosphere for an increasingly diverse population or it can allow the spread of social isolation and community disintegration.

As we in the Metro area debate urban sprawl and transit options and lament the scarcity of affordable housing, the vitality of Hamline Midway becomes an important concern. Vigilant stewardship and citizen action are needed to assure that this core neighborhood remains safe, attractive, and economically healthy for all its community members.