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Forever St. Paul Challenge to open for ideas

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The St. Paul Foundation is offering a million-dollar prize for an idea to make its hometown better.

Starting Feb. 13, submissions will be taken for proposals in the Forever St. Paul Challenge.

The Challenge is open to submission from the public. Ideas will be judged on their merits, without considering who is submitting them, Foundation president Carleen Rhodes said.

"If we can start to hear voices of people who maybe aren't always at the table — they're not always thinking about how to solve civic issues — then we'll be better off because we'll have more people thinking about the future," Rhodes said.

A panel of judges will winnow the entries down to three finalists. The public will vote on the winner this summer. The winner gets to keep $1,000 as reward. The rest of the grant would go toward implementing the proposal.

The money for the challenge comes from leftover funds raised by the host committee for the 2008 Republican National Convention, which was hosted in St. Paul.

The prize is by far the largest ever offered through the Minnesota Idea Open. The annual contest, started in 2010, has previously awarded grants of up to $15,000.