Church group to fix up CARAG, East Calhoun this summer

A St. Paul-based group called Urban Servants is working through Joyce United Methodist Church, 1219 W. 31st St., to help local property owners with building, painting, cleaning and other miscellaneous jobs for eight weeks this summer.

Beth Mueller, Urban Servants job site coordinator, said the group is a camping and Christian mission program run through Minnesota’s United Methodist churches. She said groups of youth and adult volunteers (some skilled in a trade) participate in weeklong programs each summer, splitting time between a Mound campsite and the inner city.

This year, Mueller said the organization chose eight neighborhoods in Minneapolis and St. Paul, including Southwest’s CARAG and East Calhoun neighborhoods.

CARAG is bordered by Hennepin and Lyndale avenues and Lake and 36th streets. East Calhoun stretches west of Lyndale to Lake Calhoun between Lake and 36th streets.

Joyce pastor Bill Morton said the group doesn’t charge for materials and the improvements, but encourages people to pay what they can.

Mueller said the focus on helping individual property owners is new for Urban Servants; the group usually works through nonprofits that provide their own materials, such as Habitat for Humanity.

Urban Servants will work in Southwest from mid-June through August. For more information about the Southwest initiative, contact Joyce Church at 822-5288 or visit