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School in Rondo neighborhood gets landscape redesign thanks to group of recent high school grads

Landscape redesign at Rondo school aims to help grow historic area
Landscape redesign at Rondo school aims to help grow historic area 01:58

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- There's a major yard makeover happening in St. Paul. It's in the Rondo neighborhood, and as WCCO found out, it's a project with a lot of heart.

In a very special neighborhood.  Lynn Wright, 73, said "I grew up at 8484 Rondo. It's still the best neighborhood ever."

It's the best neighborhood, that's been through the worst. In the 1950s and 1960s, the bustling African American neighborhood of St. Paul was decimated to build a new freeway, and more than 600 families lost their homes.

Wright says, "We watched them dig, we saw them move houses at night from across the street for us."

Now Wright is watching a dig with a very different purpose. It's happening outside St. Peter Claver - a school she attended and now works at where 98% of the kids are Black.

"It's amazing, we are just like one big family here and kids call me grandma," she said.

It's a school that's fought hard to survive, a school that 2022 Hill-Murray grad and landscape entrepreneur J.P. Yocum is here to support. He and his team of friends are completely redoing the outside of the school in just a few days.

Yocum says it's more than a project for them.

"The first thing people see when they drive by is the landscaping, so if we are able to change the whole scope of the school and the whole look of it, I think that really sends a big message," he said.

Wright says it's already looking beautiful.

"I think the kids from Hill-Murray are wonderful. For him to come and do this as a teenager so our kids can see too that you can do whatever you want," said Wright.

To see the outcome of the redesign, you can tune in to WCCO Sunday Morning at 7 a.m.

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