In her winning entry, Sides described Urban Oasis as "a signature food hub and nature-themed event center in the 'uniquely St. Paul' place of the Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary." Sides predicts the project will benefit the community and beyond by "creating jobs, improving health and fostering a sense of community among people and this special place."
Sides' vision calls for renovation of the Lowertown Depot in the Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary, a popular park on the east side of downtown Saint Paul, along the Mississippi corridor. The building is owned by the city of Saint Paul.
"Good work has been done to set the stage for redevelopment of this City-owned building into a center for nature and culture. Many agree that the space has great potential, but a financially viable anchor business is needed; one that aligns with the overall vision for the building to celebrate and cultivate healthy ecology and communities. Food is the perfect complement to this vision."
Sides, an avid athlete and 20-year veteran in the field of public health, is the founder of Bravely Be, a wellness company that coordinates classes, retreats, and volunteer events, as well as public health projects and community events.
Minnesota Idea Open and the Forever Saint Paul Challenge are a project of Minnesota Community Fund and is supported by The Saint Paul Foundation.