Why

We each have our own personal story and connection to the Payne Area. We care deeply about its future. We are passionate about making it a better and more equitable place for all who live, work, learn, shop, receive services or spend family & leisure time in the district.

The Payne Area district has a unique and potent assets that set it apart from other urban commercial districts in St. Paul and the Twin Cities. It has a long and rich multi-cultural history. It is, and always has been, home to a diverse group of residents and businesses, many of them immigrants when they first arrived. The district rises to a unique hill-top setting with great long-distances vistas of St. Paul. It has a good inventory of old buildings that provide a compelling small-town feel in the middle of a big city.

At the same time, it feels “quirky,” “edgy,” and “gritty” – appealing to younger generations. It has a solid core of established, successful anchor businesses, many of them serving the needs of our diverse neighborhood, and a strong collaborative spirit amongst many of the business owners. At the same time, the district is not without its challenges. Median income levels are amongst the lowest in St. Paul. The percentage of families who own their home is also well below average for the city. Average commute times to work are close to 30 minutes, indicating that residents are unable to benefit enough into local jobs.

Notwithstanding these challenges, the Payne Area appears to be at a turning point. In recent years, many of the most successful businesses, established and new, haven been increasingly attracting customers from a larger area well beyond the immediate neighborhood. New business owners, investors and developers have started to move into the area. They have become more entrepreneurial. The time is now to start guiding and shaping the direction of these developments, to make sure they involve and benefit the local community, and don’t displace current residents and locally-owned businesses. — That is the intent of our Payne Area ReBOOT intiative!