Partnering for Rondo

Moving upward from a difficult history. Rondo was once a thriving neighborhood anchored by Rondo Avenue, named for an early settler, Joseph Rondeau. Part of the original street is now the frontage road near the Best Western Kelly Inn. The rest  of the street, along with much of the neighborhood was destroyed with the development of the I-94 corridor through St. Paul in the late 1950s. At that time about 85 percent of Saint Paul’s African-American population lived in the neighborhood, as well as many Jewish families and other immigrants. More than 600 African American families lost their homes. Numerous businesses and institutions were also lost. Neighborhood memories and new energy is celebrated every July at Rondo Days.
A Mayoral Challenge. During his first visit to St. Paul Rotary, Mayor Melvin Carter (himself an honorary club member and the city's first black mayor), challenged the club to get involved with the neighborhood and the black business community. As a first step, the club donated $50,000 to help build the new Rondo Center for Diverse Expression at 315 Fisk Street. The new center opened in 2020 and the St. Paul Rotary board now meets there.
Partnering with the Rondo Community. The club continues to develop the Rondo Center, helping to add a garden in 2021. St. Paul Rotarian Deb Katzmark designed the garden plantings and put in long hours planting with volunteers during a hot June weekend.
In response to economic hardship and immediate needs created in the community by the Covid-19 pandemic, St. Paul Rotarians partnered with Hallie Q. Brown Community Center for food drives, the annual Hallie-ween candy and food giveaway, and the annual Thanksgiving and Christmas meal and toy distributions.
The club continues to build relationships and service opportunities in Rondo. Your ideas and connections are welcome!





Rotarians packaged candy for "Hallie-ween" during a spirited fall meeting.
Rotarians donated gourds, apples and dental supplies to give out to Hallie-ween families along with the candy and groceries.
Facemasks and Halloween masks were all part of the fun for the outdoor drive-through
Hallie-ween event!
Rotarians, including visiting RI President Mark Maloney get a tour of the old church that has since become the new Rondo Center for Diverse Expression.
St. Paul Rotary member Marvin Anderson, the driving force behind the Rondo Center and Rondo Commemorative Plaza.
A sunny view of the Rondo Commemorative Plaza in front of the new Rondo Center.
How Can Rotarians Particpate?
  • Join the Rondo Team
  • Volunteer for service projects like "Hallie-ween" and food drives
  • Bring your community connections and ideas forward!