Rename Frogtown to Little Mekong?
Maybe, reports the Twin Cities Daily Planet's David Kong. Va-megn Thoj, the Asian Economic Development Association executive director, is leading an effort to create a catchy new nickname and identity for the stretch of University Avenue between Dale and Rice streets in St. Paul -- and the surrounding neighborhood - now bustling with immigrant businesses. Another option -- which doesn't exactly roll off the tongue -- is "World Cultural Heritage District."
Frogtown, located just west of the Minnesota State Capitol in St. Paul, has been home to immigrant families since the middle of the 19th century and is currently home to many of the Twin Cities' Southeast Asian residents. As of the 2000 census, the neighborhood is ethnically diverse: about 24 percent Whites, 38 percent Asian Americans, 22 percent African Americans, nine percent Latino, one percent American Indian, and five percent multiracial.
Whatever it gets named, Thoj says the point is to give the area an updated identity that unifies small business owners as construction gets under way this summer on the Central Corridor light rail line downtown Minneapolis to St. Paul along University Avenue. They're worried they won't have any businesses left after the four-year, $957 million construction project wraps up -- in 2014.
The Central Corridor LRT