Trailblazers 2016: St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman

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Chris Coleman // Photo courtesy City of St. Paul

Ever since taking office as the mayor of St. Paul back in 2006, Chris Coleman has been tasked with being the voice of a diverse community, presiding over the capital of Minnesota, and making a case for himself as the cooler of the two mayors in the Twin Cities. And no better case can be made in his favor than what he’s accomplished in 2016.

Mayor Coleman declared 2016 in St. Paul as the Year of Music, helping local artists promote their shows at venues all throughout the city in an effort to highlight the cultural diversity that blossoms from a bustling music scene. He also ushered in proposals for the Capital City Bikeway, which will eventually develop into a network of united bike paths downtown, and the River Balcony project, which will create an elevated pedestrian path that will follow the Mississippi River along a one-and-a-half mile stretch. If nothing else, these three initiatives will solidify Mayor Coleman’s legacy as the man who helped bolster the local music scene, improve bikers’ commutes, and create one helluva spot to enjoy a beer along the river.

Related Post — Silver city sounds: Venues new and old are filling St. Paul with music

But perhaps most noteworthy of all this year, Mayor Coleman helped solidify plans for the new, privately financed Minnesota United FC stadium in St. Paul’s Midway neighborhood, which is expected to host the newly anointed MLS franchise starting in 2018. The design for the stadium is as unique and clever as team’s emblem and kits, with an oval-shaped ceiling over the seating area that opens up over the field itself.

All of these endeavors will continue to expand St. Paul’s horizons and foster a tightly knit community long after Mayor Coleman leaves office. Responding to community voices is all you can really ask for in a mayor, but to do so in bold, cost-efficient ways that touch all corners of the city is damn near unprecedented.

Watch out, Minneapolis—Mayor Coleman is having himself a year.

Update: After Coleman’s announcement on Dec. 1 that he wouldn’t seek another term as mayor, who knows what he has in store for 2017…


Our mission at The Growler is to tell stories that inspire progress in local food, drink, and culture. And in that spirit as part of our 2016 Kind-Of-A-Big-Deal Issue, we felt the need to point out 25 people, ideas, businesses, and organizations who have done necessary, important, and groundbreaking work in 2016. See the rest of our 2016 Trailblazers here.

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