12.3.06

stp: Smith Ave. Transit Center

The March Avenues has a story on the City Council finally giving the go ahead to the Smith Avenue transit/parking ramp. Waffling and indecision on the council's part meant a $1 million loss for the city.

[Councilmember Jay] Benanav said City Council members "swallowed hard" last year whhen plans fo rthe transit center and ramp were shelved. The council's plan was to build the facitily on the northern portion of the site and leave the southern portion open for future development. Target was looking at developing the entire site, but wanted too much city subsidy.

Mayor Chris Coleman wanted the transit center and ramp to move ahead. He also was unhappy about the delay and what it has cost the city. "This may be the perfect exampleof how not to do a project," he said.

Downtown Saint Paul has a lot of problems, most due to the unfortunate 60's freeway/skyway development that took all the street life off the street level and placed inside, on the 2nd story of half-empty office buildings. Developing the Smith/Kellog site is a golden opportunity to connect downtown with the W 7th area. That's why the real question is what's going to go on the Southern half of the site.

Any suggestions? Dave Thune brainstormed a hockey rink. That's a great idea, but this is the wrong place. Perhaps they could put a hockey rink on top of the bluff, where that unused fountain/pedestrian space is . . .

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