ReConnect Rondo Seeks Community Feedback

At ReConnect Rondo “Every Brick Counts” event, nonprofit launches REACH tools to gather community feedback.

ReConnect Rondo signs and bricks

The Rondo neighborhood in St. Paul, Minnesota was a vibrant African-American community that thrived on connection until an Interstate was built that split the neighborhood in two. The construction through the neighborhood meant that over 2,800 people and over 300 businesses were displaced and 22 acres of green space was lost. In an effort to reconnect the community the ReConnect Rondo nonprofit was created to devise ways the community could be brought back together. The Rondo Commemorative Plaza (RCP) was built to showcase the history of the neighborhood and as a gathering place for community members. RCP celebrated its’ second annual “Every Brick Counts” ceremony where bricks with memories of the Rondo neighborhood or honoring community members are placed by donors.

ReConnect Rondo commemorative bricks

With long-term planning and support for federal, state, and local agencies the nonprofit is leading the charge for the creation of the Rondo Land Bridge over the Interstate to reconnect the neighborhood. At the event the ReConnect Rondo also unveiled REACH tools that will show how the Rondo Land Bridge will reconnect the community and allows for a hands-on experience for community members. HGA’s Digital Practice Group worked with the ReConnect Rondo team to develop and customize the tools that would allow leaders, agencies, and most importantly community members to visualize and provide crucial feedback.

ReConnect Rondo Jonathan Bartling REACH tools

The REACH tools include:

  • an Augmented Reality (AR) application that is paired with a physical model of the land bridge and various structures for an interactive build experience
  • a custom web application that allows users to build their own version of the Rondo Land Bridge and submit their designs
  • a 1:1 Augmented Reality application that allows the user to see design ideas overlaid on-site with the ability to collect feedback

During the celebration, a permanent sign was unveiled that shows residents how to download and use the REACH tools. The event featured speakers including St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter, ReConnect Rondo’s Managing Director, Keith Baker, and Digital Practice Group Director, Jonathan Bartling.

ReConnect Rondo Mayor Melvin Carter

Watch the video below to learn more about the REACH tools and the Rondo neighborhood’s history.

In a recent WCCO article, Keith Baker of ReConnect Rondo shared,

“We’re not the first to build a structure that things can go on top of, but what we are is the first to really consider a way in which communities are engaged in the design,” said Keith Baker with ReConnectRondo.”

To learn more about the ReConnect Rondo project, visit their website.