stp: Bridges Shenanigans

The Boon-doggley "Bridges of Saint Paul" project is at it again -- with shenanigans and full page PR offensives in the local rag. I found the giant ad on the back page of the local section this last weekend, and then I started reading the ad's iffy content. The PiPress's great blog, City Hall Scoop, is doing some good reporting on this issue:

No one was more surprised to see St. Paul Riverfront Corp. head honcho Patrick Seeb’s quasi-endorsement of the Bridges project than Seeb himself.

The czar of all things Mississippi River related was quoted in a full-page ad in the Sunday Pioneer Press, taken out by the JLT Group on behalf of the billion-dollar mixed-use real estate development Jerry Trooien is proposing for the West Side.

“I didn’t say what was written there,” Seeb told the Scoop this afternoon. “We have not endorsed the project. We have a number of outstanding issues that are awaiting a response from him.”

As do quite a few other folks, no doubt. There hasn’t even been a formal application to the city yet for the necessary paperwork to break ground on the project, let alone approval for what could be changes to zoning, river corridor standards or a host of other issues.

The comments from Seeb were pieced together from a June 10, 2004, cover letter offering public comment for an Alternative Urban Areawide Review, addressed to St. Paul city planner Lucy Thompson. Seeb says the original language included some key caveats, like encouragement for Trooien to conform to city regulations.

Can the Saint Paul govt's new-found spine on urbanism issues (e.g. the floodwall, the smoking ban) withstand the pressure of a megalomaniacal millionaire developer? Is the Bridges Project too big for its bridges?

All this, and more, in the next installement . . .

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