After reading and reflecting my previous post on the history of the Summit- University neighborhood, one should have a pretty good understanding of the transformation that this community has had over the years. Clearly, residents of Summit- University have witnessed a positive growth throughout its existence. From our knowledge of history, we are able to hold a better sense of the current atmosphere of this diverse community.
As we know from the history, there are different “areas” within the Summit- University neighborhood. The that areas I felt were most compelling and showed the biggest and best representation are the Selby Avenue and Summit Avenue/ Ramsey Hill communities. Both of these areas have grown immensely in many ways leading them to the present day characteristics of this neighborhood. Continue on your reading adventure to paint a portrait in your mind of the contemporary context of this magnificent neighborhood.
Walk down the Selby Avenue and you will see an array of sights. On one end, you will find an upscale, popular retail area containing clothing shops, gathering spots and destination dining. On the other end you will see a residential area in a more run- down, yet very optimistic and diverse part of the neighborhood. In order to tie these ends together, the neighborhood does a great amount of community involvement. For instance, there is the Summit- University Planning Council which is a council that promotes the well- being and positive incline of the community by providing community meetings to discuss issues affecting the area, sponsoring an annual National Night Out event and encouraging a cleaner community by recycling and having neighborhood clean-ups. This council also provides a common area for residents of all likes to meet and greet each other on a monthly basis. This provides residents with the opportunity to become part of a tight knit community that is glowing with pride. There is also a newsletter, called Porch Lite, that projects positive influences, new businesses, and daily events throughout the community. Though larger reports such as newspaper and television provide mixed reviews, this community does a great job at promoting the positives in order to make a change in the future. In communicating with residents of the neighborhood, they have a great relationship with the city around them. They are proud to be part of the St. Paul area and embrace its history and culture as best they can.
Summit Avenue/ Ramsey Hill
Because this area is host to many historical, educational and religious sights, including mansions, art institutes, law schools, beautifully large churches and government offices, it gets a fairly good reputation throughout. Just walking down the street, I felt a sense of superiority within the community. It is not an odd sight to see a man or women in a business suit or decked out in Nike running gear to head on an evening jog full of fantastic site. The pride of this community is shown in the Ramsey Hill Association newsletter. Here you will find a large display of neighborhood news, clubs to join, network building opportunities and events such as May 2012s front page introducing the beginning of a jazz and blues night club in The Commodore, “which hosts the famous Art Deco bar that was frequented in the the 1920s by literary figures F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald and Sinclair Lewis as well as such notorious gangsters as Fred Barker and Al Capone.” Just like Selby Avenue, this newsletter puts much emphasis on maintaining and promoting a crime-free and environmental friendly atmosphere. Again, from conversing and watching I learned that while this community is proud to be part of the larger St. Paul area, St. Paul is very proud to host it. This neighborhood is a large part of the historical culture of St. Paul and attracts a large amount of tourism into the city as a whole.
In saying this, I find it very interesting to compare the history of these communities to the contemporary contexts of the Neighborhood. Obviously, there has been great strides in creating a Neighborhood that is based around pride, history and cultural diversity. I do recommend, if you ever get the chance, to venture over the Summit-University and witness it for yourself. You will not be let down!