Neighbors are honored

Every year, the City of St. Paul holds a neighborhood honor roll where each of the city’s 17 district councils name three individuals or groups as Neighborhood Honor Roll honorees. Below are bios provided by the district council offices.

Payne Phalen community council

- Arlington Hills Lutheran Church:
Arlington Hills Lutheran Church has worked diligently to reach out to and support the Payne Phalen Community. They have given of their hearts and space to the community through sponsoring The Alley Shoppe program which provides clothing and household goods to those in need. They host family movie nights complete with popcorn so families can have a free evening of entertainment. They opened their doors to St. Paul Parks and Recreation to host the Rec Check program while the recreation center and library is under
construction in the community. They allow the community to host a variety of community meetings at no cost in their various community rooms so the community can share ideas and receive important information.  

- Golden Harvest Foods:
Golden Harvest serves as a business cornerstone in the community. The owner, Shua Xiong, has worked hard to reach out to the entire community to bring in shoppers and welcome them to new foods and experiences. The store has worked in partnership with the neighborhood from its early start up days. Over the past few years they have renovated the entire interior of the store. The store regularly provides goods for community events, and opportunities for outreach and education. They are a key employer in the area and many customers have commented on the quality of the store and its service to the neighborhood. Recently, they supported the Payne Phalen District Five outreach and education efforts with the community of customers at the store.  

- Shannon Lawson:
Shannon Lawson has been a neighbor on a mission to make Payne Phalen a greener, more beautiful community. She has worked on the Payne Phalen Pocket Park project. The project included a group of neighbors who wanted to take vacant lots and create community gardens. They worked hard to conduct community outreach and create a planning process. They received a small grant to help with supplies and a membership to MN Green helped with plant material. The result was the creation of a pocket park on a vacant lot next to her home. They turned it from a bland piece of property into a beautiful vibrant community garden. The newly installed garden attracted neighbors from all over to view and enjoy it. She hopes that this garden is just the start of greening her community.

District 1 community council

- Bonnie Peace Watkins:
Bonnie has been a driving force behind living-at-home/ block nurse programs, including the Conway-Battle Creek Seniors program. She has served as its executive director and on its board over the years, as well as a volunteer in its many activities. In addition, she has worked tirelessly for decades on pay equity issues for women in Minnesota. She is currently writing a book and producing a documentary on the future of the American Women’s Movement.

- Gordon Westerberg:
Gordon recently moved to District 1 and jumped full force into action as an engaged community member. He has been instrumental in the East Side Senior Collaborative’s work surveying elders about their transportation needs. He serves or has served on the Gateway Corridors Community Advisory Group, CIB task force on community facilities, and the District 1 board as its treasurer. If there is work to be done in the neighborhood, Gordon is there to volunteer.

- Christopher Melendez and Timothy Turner:
Chris and Tim have worked tirelessly developing a Young Men’s Group at Conway Recreation Center. They show respect and are given respect in return, from the community as well as the youth. With no money and few material resources, they have created a space for youth to speak their minds, make community contributions, and to hold themselves accountable for what they do and how they behave. Chris and Tim’s energy and commitment are truly awe-inspiring.


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