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Snelling Ave. secret organization to house Union Park District Council

There are certain things you expect from a secret organization. It makes sense that such an organization would work on some nebulous projects. It will probably spend time suppressing information about itself. One thing you might not expect a secret organization to do is house your local government.

The Whimsical Alternatives Coalition Political Awareness Consortium (WACPAC)—which is described by the owner, Webb White, as a group where “we search for the answers to life, the universe and everything”—will be renting out part of its space at 161 Snelling Avenue to the Union Park District Council, one of 17 councils contracted by the city of Saint Paul to help engage with the community.

Union Park DC is a nonprofit, and consists of two staff members, a board and several committees. Their district does not include Macalester’s campus, as it is bounded by Summit Avenue, Lexington Parkway, University Avenue and the Mississippi River.

Union Park DC community organizer Michael Johnson told The Mac Weekly that he hopes that moving into 161 Snelling Ave. might allow Union Park DC to become more visible. Johnson said that the WACPAC is mysterious, and something about which people in the neighborhood are curious.

Johnson said that Union Park DC helps citizens in the area “take ownership over their space and advocate for their interests and needs.”

Committees often give recommendations to the city on issues that affect the neighborhood, for example the soccer stadium that Minnesota United is planning to build near Snelling and University Avenues.

Johnson added that despite the differences between the WACPAC and Union Park DC, both share a commitment to building community. He said that Union Park DC is paying “far below what we should be paying,” to use the space and that the rental agreement is for two years.

The move comes alongside a change in the WACPAC’s public presence. WACPAC now has a website, on which the organization refers to itself as “WACPAC 2.0.” An unusual webpage next to its hours and contact pages—neither of which list any actual information about its hours or how to contact the organization—called “Picture Of The King,” shows just a photograph of Elvis.

Johnson said that for now, the WACPAC will still be hosting private events at 161 Snelling Ave.

March 3, 2017

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