Letter from CANDO's Executive Director Antoine Martinneau

Happy New Year Central neighborhood and friends! I am very excited for 2018, and while the past year was a struggle for many of us, I am proud of what CANDO has accomplished with a small but incredibly dedicated and determined staff and base of volunteers. Some highlights include:

In coordination with Green Central School and the Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board, we made a big effort to ensure that the voices of students, parents and neighbors who use Green Central Park everyday would be reflected in the final redesign. We organized, we spoke up, and we were heard! Thanks to everyone who participated, the new park design really reflects what people in the neighborhood wanted to see.

Over the course of the year we worked to support several block meetings, ice cream socials and public safety discussions throughout the year and across the neighborhood. Working with local block leaders, CANDO supported over half of the neighborhood’s National Night Out events and pushed Hennepin County to improve traffic signal and crosswalk amenities in the neighborhood.

CANDO began a project to show appreciation for history makers that have been a major presence in the Central neighborhood. Local artists contributed their work to design utility box wraps depicting the late Prince Rogers Nelson, a man who has had a unique and profound impact on not only the people of the Central neighborhood, but also on music and art across the globe. Look for more art on boxes speaking to the history of Central in 2018.

I’m especially proud of our gardening program Plant-Grow-Share. My father was a brilliant gardener; with his passing this April the importance of growing and sharing food with friends, family and neighbors has taken on an incredibly profound aspect for me. Learning how to garden as part of the program and being a part of creating a stronger and healthier community feels like literally returning to my roots, and fills me with love and devotion to the work that we do to support each other here in Central.

The CANDO board and staff are so thankful for the support of the people in Central and our friends and family from across the Twin Cities. In 2018 keep an eye out for more exercise classes, better parks, great food, tons of fun and amazing neighbors. See you soon!