Dayton’s Bluff celebrates another year of community organizing


Newly elected and re-elected board members of the Dayton’s Bluff Community Council, from left to right, include Kirstin Scanlan Madore, Dana Fitzpatrick, Erica Merritt, Quintin Kidd and Barry Frantum. Re-elected board members Osman Egal, Jeanelle Foster and Laura Kidd were unable to attend the community council’s annual meeting on Oct. 18. Marjorie Otto/Review

Newly elected and re-elected board members of the Dayton’s Bluff Community Council, from left to right, include Kirstin Scanlan Madore, Dana Fitzpatrick, Erica Merritt, Quintin Kidd and Barry Frantum. Re-elected board members Osman Egal, Jeanelle Foster and Laura Kidd were unable to attend the community council’s annual meeting on Oct. 18. Marjorie Otto/Review

The Dayton’s Bluff Community Council held its annual meeting and board elections on Oct. 18. The annual meeting, a community tradition that community council leaders believe is in it’s 45th year, is a chance for the neighborhood to share a meal together, celebrate its achievements and elect board members to represent residents.

The Dayton’s Bluff Community Council is part of the St. Paul district council system, which is made up of 17 district councils that represent the neighborhoods in the city. The district councils help advise city council members on everything from development, zoning and transportation to other community issues like street cleaning.

The meeting included a community dinner made by local food business incubator Kitchen on the Bluff, information about ranked-choice voting, which will be used in the upcoming St. Paul mayoral election on Nov. 7, highlights of the work done by the community council this year, board elections and the presentation of the Roger Tetu Award.

 

And your board members are ...

Residents elected eight board members during the annual meeting. Some were re-elected board members, while others were new faces.

The Dayton’s Bluff neighborhood is divided into four subdistricts, A, B, C and D. 

Two representatives were elected to represent subdistrict A: Dana Fitzpatrick and Jeanelle Foster.

Fitzpatrick is a newcomer to the board. She has lived on the East Side for 17 years and graduated from Harding High School. She received her cosmetology degree from St. Paul College and has been in the beauty industry for 15 years. 

She said she is concerned about making the community safe, keeping kids involved with the community, getting street cleaners into the neighborhood and updating the store fronts in the neighborhood. 

Foster is a re-elected board member who has lived in Dayton’s Bluff for more than 10 years and also serves on the St. Paul School Board. According to her biography on the Dayton’s Bluff Community Council website, she said, “I would like to see the Dayton’s Bluff Community Council intentionally gathering input about the strengths and areas of concern to target in the community.”

Kirstin Scanlan Madore was re-elected to represent subdistrict B. She has lived on the East Side for 18 years, five of which have been in Dayton’s Bluff. Last year she was elected to the board to fill a vacant seat. She said she wanted to be involved on the board to “help create opportunities for the growth of gardens, block clubs, businesses, arts and other exciting community projects.” Some of the challenges she sees facing Dayton’s Bluff include poverty, crime, and inequality, especially between renters, homeowners, businesses, landlords and those who are homeless.

Erica Merritt is a newly elected board member representing subdistrict B. She has lived on the East Side since 2004 when she moved from Illinois. She works at Dellwood Gardens assisted living community as its activities director. She has five kids who have gone through John A. Johnson Elementary School and the Farnsworth Aerospace schools.

“I have watched the East Side grow over the years and would love to be involved with its growth,” Merritt said.

 

Subdistrict C and D

Osman Egal was re-elected to represent subdistrict C. This was his sixth time running for the board and he has lived on the East Side for almost four years. 

“I enjoy helping out my community,” he said. 

Egal said he wants to continue building relationships in the community and said education is important to him, as well. One challenge he sees facing the community is safety and he wants to work with police to connect them with advocates in the neighborhood. He also wants to work on housing, which he said is difficult to find in Dayton’s Bluff. 

Barry Frantum is a new face on the board, elected to represent subdistrict D. Frantum is a Lakota language and American Indian History teacher at Harding High School. 

“I would like to help bring balance, equity and relevance to our community,” Frantum said. He added that he is frustrated by the “neglect” the East Side experiences from the city, something he wants to see changed. Some challenges he sees the neighborhood facing include employment in the neighborhood where “a living wage is attained,” “reinvigorating homeownership,” crime, drug use and access to addiction help. He added that he is also concerned about gentrification in Dayton’s Bluff and establishing the community as a sanctuary for those who may be undocumented. 

Quintin Kidd was re-elected to represent subdistrict D and has lived in Dayton’s Bluff for six and half years. He has served on the board since 2015 and has been treasurer for the past year and a half.

“As we enter 2018, I would like to see the board focus more intensely on the concerns of our neighborhoods, specifically around issues of equity, and develop long term approaches to deal with those concerns,” Kidd said. 

He said he is concerned about the inequity of capital improvement funds being used across the city and the limited recreation center hours.

Laura Kidd, no relation to Quintin, was re-elected to the at-large board position. She has lived on the East Side since 2002 and attended Metropolitan State University. She has served on the board since 2016 and is a mother and grandmother of American Indian descent. 

In her biography on the Dayton’s Bluff Community Council website she said, “I would like more American Indian families to become involved in the council and share their needs and concerns. I would also like to see more residents, especially people of color, become entrepreneurs in our neighborhood.”

 

Roger Tetu Award

A yearly tradition for the council is to conclude its annual meeting with the Roger Tetu Award. 

The award was established in 2011 in memory of Dayton’s Bluff resident Roger Tetu. Tetu was killed in a hit-and-run accident by an impaired driver at the intersection of Earl and Margaret streets during the summer of 2011 as he was picking up trash. Tetu and his wife had lived in Dayton’s Bluff for 56 years. Tetu was known for helping people with anything, from getting cats out of trees to helping plow driveways, and for general neighborhood kindness.

The award celebrates a Dayton’s Bluff resident who exemplifies the characteristics of being a good neighbor. 

This year the award was given to newly-elected board member Barry Frantum, who was nominated by board member Crystal Norcross. 

Frantum, who knew Tetu and would often visit with him, said the award meant a lot to him, as the mother of his son had also been hit and killed by an impaired driver.

“I’m really humbled and honored to have this and it means a lot to me,” Frantum said.

 

Marjorie Otto can be reached at 651-748-7816 or at eastside@lillienews.com. Follow her on Twitter at @EastSideM_Otto



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