For Rondo Days founder, commemorative plaza provides a capstone to a life of community work

Marvin Anderson can see the finish line, both for his capstone project and for his 35-year involvement in the cause of reclaiming the St. Paul community of Rondo.

With $47,000 in state legacy grant money approved by the 2017 Minnesota Legislature, the fund-raising for the building of a $450,000 Rondo Commemorative Plaza has been completed. If all goes according to plan, Anderson said he hopes to begin construction in August.

After a winter lull, the project — located at Concordia (Old Rondo) Avenue and Fisk Street — will be finished in the spring with a ribbon cutting and celebration. That will complete a project that aims to both celebrate the story of the historic black neighborhood and reconcile the damage done to it by the construction of Interstate 94.

A few months after the ribbon cutting, Anderson said he will take part in the 35th edition of Rondo Days, the annual event he founded with Floyd Smaller to celebrate and commemorate the old Rondo community — the 2017 edition of which takes place this weekend.

And then he’ll start the process of stepping away. He’ll be 78. “I’ve probably got two to three years to go myself,” he said. “I’m toward the winter as opposed to the spring of my years.”

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