30 Plans to Improve St. Paul Vie for $1M Prize

Thirty ideas for improving St. Paul—ranging from the construction of a “floating museum” to mobile food shelves—are competing for a $1 million prize.

Nearly 1,000 pitches for how to make St. Paul a better city poured in to the Forever Saint Paul Challenge contest—and the pool has now been narrowed to 30 ideas, one of which will receive $1 million to help bring the plan to fruition.

The St. Paul Foundation announced the semifinalists on Thursday, and the ideas run the gamut—from the construction of a “floating museum” to low-cost or free swimming lessons to mobile food shelves.

Descriptions of the semifinalist ideas can be seen on the competition’s website. A recent report by the Pioneer Press, meanwhile, includes a summary of all 30 ideas, as well as input from some of the contributors. To read the St. Paul newspaper’s story, click here.

Later this summer, a panel of judges will select three finalists. Minnesotans will select the winning idea from the three finalists and decide how the $1 million is spent: Public voting will begin August 13 and end September 2.

The contest is an initiative of the Minnesota Idea Open, which poses “challenges” and asks Minnesotans to submit solutions. But this year’s Forever Saint Paul Challenge raised the ante significantly, offering a $1 million prize. (For context, a 2011 contest that focused on raising awareness and addressing water issues awarded a $15,000 prize.)