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Hamline Midway Coalition to welcome new executive director

Posted on 07 August 2018 by Calvin

Photo and article by MARGIE O’LOUGHLIN
Longtime neighborhood resident Kate Mudge (photo right) has been chosen as the Hamline Midway Coalition’s new executive director. She said, “I’ll be moving into the position full time on Sept. 1, but will begin meeting with the outgoing executive director, Michael Jon Olson, in early August.”

Mudge will be bringing a varied skill set to her new position. “When I moved to Hamline Midway twelve years ago,” she said, “I was working as a professional baker. One of the things that got me excited about the neighborhood was that it clearly supported small businesses, and I had some ideas about opening my own bakery. I ended up going in a different direction entirely, taking a job at Second Harvest, and eventually becoming the executive director of an animal rescue organization called Pet Haven.”

Throughout those years, Mudge had regular contact with the Hamline Midway Coalition (HMC). She experienced first-hand how a strong district council can make life better for its residents. She said, “Michael Jon was always responsive to my ideas and suggestions. Even if he didn’t have a ready solution for me, he could always point me in the right direction.”

As one of the founding members of the Tatum Park Community Garden (1893 Taylor Ave. W.), Mudge applied to HMC for help six years ago. “They helped us with start-up marketing to get our garden going and to bring a water line in from the street. We were able to turn a vacant urban lot into a productive community garden,” she said.

Mudge and her wife are the proud owners of three dogs and, she claims, “every day, we walk for miles through the neighborhood. I keep looking around and thinking, ‘There’s something I’ve never seen before!’ I’m curious to learn, what do other people see when they look around? Who or what is being under-celebrated? Who or what can we lift up? There’s a sense of pride in Hamline Midway that’s well-earned. To be part of the on-going evolution of this neighborhood, as a resident and with this new job—it doesn’t get any better than that.”

HMC engages the voice and power of the community to advance neighborhood identity, embrace community diversity, enhance neighborhood vitality, and develop neighborhood leadership. They represent the interests of the neighborhood on a broad range of public policy and city governance issues. Recommendations to public agencies are the result of active deliberation on the part of their committees and their board of directors.

While the neighborhood is largely residential, it also includes light industry, retail and wholesale businesses concentrated along the major routes of University, Snelling, and Pierce Butler/Transfer Rd. The Hamline Midway neighborhood is bounded by University Ave. on the south, Pierce Butler Route on the north, Lexington Ave. on the east, and Transfer Rd. on the west.

Mudge concluded, “I’m excited to step into my new role. Along with Melissa Cortes, our marketing and communications manager, and our board of directors, I think we can bring HMC to the next level of being a very productive hub for the neighborhood.”

Shirley Erstad

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