Lexington-Hamline is a fairly newish neighborhood that was just part of St. Paul before the people in the area decided to incorporate as a community in order to promote the health of the (newly-formed) neighborhood. In 1969, the Lexington-Hamline Community Council (LHCC) officially applied as a nonprofit organization. They have been a driving force and a guiding hand for the neighborhood ever since.
The LHCC formed in part because of all the issues that were flourishing in the area. Because of the issues the neighborhood was facing, there was a real problem with suburban flight. The LHCC was so effective in addressing the problems that Lexington-Hamilton was named one of the 'Turn Around Neighborhoods' in the Twin Cities by David Lanegran, a professor of geography at Macalester College in acknowledgement that they had turned around the downward slide in the quality of life. In turn, this boosted the value of the houses in the neighborhood, which allowed for the rise to continue.
The LHCC have been responsive to the concerns of their citizenry and, over the years, have shaped the neighborhood through their proactive actions. Some of their accomplishments are that they established a successful rapport with the police department which has strengthened the safety of the neighborhood, sprucing up the neighborhood with the aid of the housing committee, and keeping the aesthetics of the neighborhood while simultaneously advocating for better energy efficiency.
They have weathered the storm of the natural ebbs and flows that all communities face in part because of how active the LHCC is.
Union Park is a district of St. Paul that has roughly 20,000 people and contains 3 specific neighborhoods. . The Lexington-Hamline Community Council was established in 1969 and they have been heavily involved in improving the neighborhood to make it a safer and more welcoming place for everyone. They have worked on making the neighborhood more pedestrian-friendly, looking out for elder residents, and caring for the environment. Some of the events they have coordinated include a blood drive and a concert in support of fighting crime. They are also involved in the planning of Midway Peace Park, which they see as a way to increase the greenery in their neighborhood.
There are several things to appreciate throughout the neighborhood. If you like pizza, there's Pizza Luce, a local chain that is beloved by many. If you have an interest in the arts, Lex-Ham Community Arts has both a theater and a band, both of which are open to residents. If you're the type to commune with nature, in addition to the Midway Peace Park is the Eleanor Graham Community Garden in which you can rent a plot of land for your own garden. To engender a sense of togetherness, everyone is responsible for keeping the communal space clean. There is also the Trout Brook Nature Sanctuary for those who are outdoors-minded.
Green / Environmental
Lexington-Hamline does not have any written environmental policies.
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Hamline and Hague Park - (1328 Hague Ave.,, 651-266-6400, website) Hamline and Hague Park is a small park that is noted for its circular tot lot. There are slides, swings, and climbing nets for all the younger set to enjoy and there's plenty of space for running around, too. There are benches which are ideal for parents to sit on and chat while watching their children have fun in the play area.
Midway Peace Park - (416 N Griggs St.,, 651-266-6427, website) Midway Peace Park is a park in progress as the city has recognized the need for greenery in the neighborhood. It's three acres with an impressive playground for children to play on and enjoy. The playground equipment is colorful and shaped much like art, which is visually pleasing as well. There is art done by a local artist, Lori Greene, which adds to the beauty and there are plans to add more to the park as time goes on.
Pizza Luce - (1183 Selby Ave.,, 651-288-0186, website) Pizza Luce is a local chain started by Joe Baier in 1993 in Downtown Minneapolis. It slowly became a favorite pizza joint and he's expanded to 9 restaurants around the state. They are a mainstay in community events in Minneapolis and a crowd favorite. The decor is colorful and warm, and the atmosphere is casual and inviting. The service is friendly and it's a great place to gather for a fun time and a tasty bite to eat. Their menu includes pizzas, of course, such as Fire Breathing Dragon, Pizza Athena, The Luce, and Ruby Rae. They also have hoagies (Beef Italiano, Meatball Parmigiana, Mock Chicken Dijon, for example), salads, appetizers, and pastas such as Lasagna Abruzzi, Gluten Free Stuffed Shells, and Gouda Mac 'n Cheese. They have a variety of delicious desserts, too, including Peanut Butter Brownie, Molly Bar Sundae, and Carrot Cake. Can't decide? There's a Dessert Bar Sampler Box so you can try a little bite of several different desserts. They have a variety of gluten-free options, vegan options, substitute cheese, and substitute meat, so there is something for everyone.
Yellowbird Coffee Bar - (1168 Selby Ave.,, 651-493-7134, website) Yellowbird Coffee Bar was envisioned by John and Suzette during a rough time. They chose the name after the little yellow bird who kept visiting them during this time and the place itself evokes a nature theme with the wood on the walls. They opened in 2019. It is a dog-friendly coffee shop and there's a patio where you and your pooch can sip your coffee, weather permitting. It's a good neighborhood hangout if you want to relax with friends. Drinks-wise, in addition to the standard coffees, they have specialty drinks such as The Yellowbird and seasonal drinks such as The Snowbird. On the food side, they have sandwiches, soups, pastries, and salads.
Amy Jane Studio - (1172 Ashland Ave.,, 651-276-9492, website) Amy Jane Studio is a bridal boutique opened by Amy Jane, who has been passionate about sewing since she was a child. Her journey has been varied, but it always had sewing at the center. These days, she runs her studio out of her home and it's a family affair. She believes in focusing her full attention on whatever she is working at, which means that each creation is the best it can possibly be. She puts her clients first and they are appreciative of her attention to detail and to them. She provides alterations as well as advice on what will make the bride look best on her wedding day.
Express Bike Shop - (1158 Selby Ave.,, 651-644-9660, website) Express Bike Shop is a nonprofit that is focused on providing young people with work experience in the form of internships at the shop. They are, of course, also a bike shop with everything that entails. They have used bikes for sale, ones that they've carefully refurbished, in a wide range of prices so there is a bike for everyone. They have a full-service menu for when you buy a bike as well, including repairs, replacements, accessories, and adjustments. They care about the environment as well and since 1995, they have repurposed, refurbished, or recycled more than 35,000 bikes.
Jennifer Becker Violin Makers and Restorers - (1161 Selby Ave.,, 612-508-5739, website) Jennifer Becker Violin Makers and Restorers is run by Jennifer Becker, who has had been making violins since 1970. She studied under her father and her grandfather, both of whom were master violin makers. The love of the violin goes back even further in her family. Jennifer's daughter, Alya, is continuing the family tradition. The shop has been in its current spot since 2015 and has garnered a reputation for being a quality violin shop. Not only does Jennifer craft quality violins, she also restores violins with care and precision. Her clients are highly satisfied with her work and sing her praises to anyone who will listen.
Community Arts & Recreation
ARTS-Us - (1221 Marshall Ave.,, 651-528-6871, website) ARTS-Us is a nonprofit that was founded in 1992 as a community-based organization, focused on nurturing young leaders in the arts through a lens of the African Diaspora. The founders were African American artists and multicultural educators. They lean heavily on the education side with a plethora of programs and experiences, including Civil Rights Research Experience, Timbuktu! (after school program), Camp Teranga, and Underground Railroad, the last which is run by the Kamau Kambui Circle for Cultural Learning. They also lead trainings, workshops, and retreats in several topics. They also rent out The Dunning Recreation Center for various events. In addition, they distribute food twice a week to people who need it.
Dunning Sports Complex - (1221 Marshall Ave.,, 651-646-1590, website) The Dunning Sports Complex is a place to go if you want to have some athletic fun with your friends and/or family. It's a place for team sports as it has 3 baseball fields and 3 softball diamonds. There are also 5 tennis courts if racket sports are more your thing. In addition, there are 2 batting cages if you want to practice your swing. For the younger set, there is a playground area in which they can burn off their energy. There is also a picnic area if you want to take a break and have a bite to eat.
Eleanor Graham Community Garden - (, 651-645-6887, website) Eleanor Graham Community Garden was cultivated in the 1990s as a way to bring together members of the community in order to beautify the neighborhood. It is managed by the Union Park District Council and one of their aims is to make sure that it's affordable to everyone in the community. Each gardener is expected to dedicate two hours a month to sprucing up the common space, which include food shelf plots, flower beds, compost bins, and more.
Lex-Ham Community Arts - (1184 Portland Ave.,, 651-644-3366, website) Lex-Ham Community Arts has its roots as a program of the Lexington-Hamline Community Council in the early 1990s. It grew over the years and became a nonprofit organization in 2003. The mission is to bring the community together through the arts, including theater and band. Both are well-established in the community and enjoyed by many members of said community. The Lex-Ham Community Band hosts the BandWidth Music Festival every year and has other events throughout the year as well. In addition to performances, the Lex-Ham Community Theater provides improv classes and acting classes. The latter is in conjunction with Saint Paul Community Education.
MAR: Lex-Ham Pasta Party - (1168 Selby Ave.,, 651-645-3207, website) There is a long history of the Lex-Ham Spaghetti Dinner annual event as a way to bring the community together. In 2021 because of the pandemic, it's been rebranded as the Lex-Ham Pasta Party and is online. It is hosted by the Lexington-Hamline Community Council in March and everyone is encouraged to make/buy pasta and post pictures of them enjoying said pasta on the LHCC's social media pages on FB and Insta. Everyone who participates will be eligible for a small token prize.
JUL: Annual Ice Cream Social - (, 651-645-3207, website) The Lexington-Hamline Annual Ice Cream Social has been an annual event in July for nearly 50 years. It's a time for the members of the community to come together around a common cause--tasty ice cream. With the current situation, the event is more a 'we'll bring it to you' situation with volunteers driving around the neighborhood on a schedule to hand out the ice cream to the people in the community. The volunteers are masked up and gloved up. Since the people can't go to the ice cream, the ice cream will go to the people instead.
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