Reading the Highland Villager #35 (April 27th - May 10th Edition)

[Basically the problem is that the best source of Saint Paul streets & sidewalks news is the Highland Villager, a very fine and historical newspaper. This wouldn't be a problem, except that its not available online. You basically have to live in or frequent Saint Paul to read it. That's why I'm reading the Highland Villager so that you don't have to. Until this newspaper goes online, sidewalk information must be set free.]

Total # of articles about sidewalks: 15
Total # of articles about sidewalks written by Jane McClure: 15

[Editors note: Oh my! I'm still 3 Highland Villagers short of a full newspaper rack. Very behind the times! Today's entry will bring me up to a 2-Villager shortfall. I promise to get up to date by the end of the week!]

Headline: The highs and lows of CIB rankings; Some area projects fare far better than others as task forces sort the submissions
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: A list of the prioritized projects from the St Paul Capital Improvement Board task forces. In general it seems like most of the money is going to road and bridge (re)construction.

Headline: Local projects reach for STAR funding
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: Description of projects that are trying to get St Paul's Neighborhood Sales Tax Revitalization money. For example, the mixed-use development at 1563 University in the Midway.

Headline: St Paul considers doubling right-of-way fees for colleges; City weighs fairness of charging colleges same rates for street work that it charges businesses
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: Right-of-way fees are a big deal if you're a property owner, and colleges are currently receiving the lower 'residential' rate. CM Stark seems to be for it, while CMs Lantry and Carter are against the vague discussion. Article includes historical background on how the fees were instituted by ex-mayor Randy Kelly, and “were seen as a way to get the city's many nonprofit organizations and other governmental bodies, which are all except from property taxes, to pay for snow plowing, street sweeping, sidewalk maintenance, tree trimming, and street lighting.”

Headline: Federal funding finally arrives for Central Corridor project
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: Description of the April 26th signing ceremony for the full funding grant for the LRT line.

Headline: Council [symbolically] votes to not tear down additional St Paul rec centers
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: At behest of CM Bostrom, on April 20th the City Council passed a symbolic resolution against demolishing any more rec centers. Article points out that rec center demolishing decisions are made by Mayor Coleman.

Headline: Commission favors area plans for last three light-rail stations
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: St Paul's Planning Commission unanimously approved the area plans for the last three LRT stations.

Headline: Plan to reduce pollution of Mississippi River introduced
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: Discussion of how runoff pollution into the Minnesota River affects the Mississippi, and is the key driver of why the Mississippi is still polluted.

Headline: St Paul allows Summit Avenue yoga institute to remain open
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: Someone using a house as a yoga school despite residential zoning can continue to do so. [I bet if it was a 'houka' school, the city wouldn't be so lenient. -Ed.]

Headline: LRT project's impact on business is too 'speculative' to quantify; but FTA requires monthly reports on efforts made to mitigate that impact
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: Rather snarky discussion of the [then] recent Federal Transit Administration report on how the LRT line would have “no significant impact on local businesses. Description of FTA's policy for watching mitigation efforts by the LRT authorities.

Headline: More aid offered to University Ave businesses hurt during LRT project
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: Report on the additional $3M that the Met Council is making available to University Ave businesses to mitigate impact of LRT construction in the form of small business loans. Includes laudatory quotes from Chamber of Commerce type folks.

Headline: UST rolls out Segway for party house patrol
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: Article [including photo!!] of new St Thomas policing Segway to be used to patrol neighborhood sidewalks in search of parties and unseemly Tommie behavior. “The university is also considering lawn signs to remind students to party responsibly.”

Headline: Transit-oriented zoning approved for five miles of Central Corridor; but now without lowering maximum building height east of Lexington Parkway [Note: headline should read: "now WITH lowering maximum building height."]
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: Melodramatic story about the new zoning changes aimed at creating density along the LRT line [which is the whole point of the LRT line]. Discussion of the “last minute amendment” from CM Carter which restricted building height limiting building height. Includes quote from head organizer of the of Preserve and Benefit Historic Rondo Committee: “People are very concerned about having the potential for downtown Manhattan right outside their door.” [This seems to me the least likely scenario for University Avenue, similar to the chances of the corner of University and Victoria becoming the world's largest copper mine . -Ed.]

Headline: Up to 15,000 new housing units expected along light-rail line; Debate continues over using density bonuses, inclusionary zoning to keep units affordable
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: Discussion of speculation over new developments that will follow the LRT line and how to keep them affordable. Particular issue are “density bonuses” which would encourage more affordable housing, where developers get variances in exchange for making new units affordable.

Headline: Mama Mia! Cossetta eyes $10.5M expansion; Despite $2M city subsidy, council grants West 7th market and pizzeria an exemption to St. Paul's living-wage ordinance
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: Article on the expansion of Cossetta's pizza on West 7th, which received a $2M grant of city funds, and then also rec'd an exemption from the city's living wage ordinance. [… so that they can continue underpaying their employees. Which raises the question of why we bothered to pass a living wage ordinance in the first place. Which points to how zoning and regulation is pretty much toothless in comparison with the kind of business community old boys network stuff that has made city's tick for hundreds of years, which points how the height restrictions mentioned above may not be all that important because the City Council can just pass variances for developers that “grease the wheels” properly by being all friendly with the Council Members. -Ed.]

Headline: Pizzeria among 15 projects included in effort to Rebuild St. Paul
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: See above, context for the grant rec'd by Cossetta's. Also lists other projects, like old Schmidt Brewery and the Frogtown Square development at University and Dale.


Reuben said...

I think it is really bizarre how we're building Central Corridor and simultaneously trying to transform the corridor as well as not impact the corridor at all.

Alex said...

15000 housing units! At that rate (15000 units added over 20 years) the Central Corridor really will be Manhattan in only.... 1,018 years!