Reading the Highland Villager #80

[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.]

Headline: Neighbors spiced up for new Snelling Wild Wings
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: Article about recent committee meeting for local neighborhood group over proposed new Buffalo Wild Wings on former Cheapo Records site in a strip mall on Snelling Avenue. People seem [surprisingly!] positive about the prospect of a new restaurant moving into the neighborhood. Article includes following resident quotes: “We’re glad to see a rare magnet for students” and “Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo.” [Did you know that is a real sentence? Perhaps this marks phase one of the new city priority to make Saint Paul more welcoming to young people? PS: It’s amazing to me that this article doesn’t mention parking even once. –Ed.]

Headline: St Paul close to beginning to finally start adopting Great River Passage Plan
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: Article on upcoming city council discussion of the Great River Passage plan, which will alter land use and design principles along the entire Mississippi waterfront through Saint Paul. The city council will vote this week on whether or not to begin discussions about starting to study the first stage of the plan for future consideration. Article includes lengthy description of past attempts to begin implementation of discussion phases for the plan’s vision. Article includes lengthy history of plan, which was first proposed for discussion commencement in 1997, and passed through the Planning Commission in May 2009. Article includes concerns from local group over the fast pace of the project, quote from neighbor: “This is the first I’ve heard of it. Nobody told me anything.” [I have heard a rumor that the City may lay over the vote.]

Headline: West 7th Federation has no opinion about $1.3 million Victoria Park plan
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: A local neighborhood group had nothing to say about the recent request for $1.3M in the city Capital Improvement Budget (CIB) for the soccer fields at a site between the river and the middle portion of West 7th Street. “We tried to think of something to say about this, but we’ve got nothing,” said the committee chair. The proposed soccer fields are on the site of old fuel tanks, which [miraculously!] spilled no pollution during their 50-year lifespan.

Headline: Saint Paul reluctant to tap unused capital funds for ballpark street improvements
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: The city is looking for just over $3 million in city dollars for improvements to the streets around the new Saints stadium in Lowertown, but is unwilling to use money from such sources as “canceled capital projects, unspent balances, and city couch cushions.” Official statements imply that “found money” is too good to be true, and that they want to find rightful owner. Best quote: “This money must be somebody’s.” Second best quote: “Did anyone drop $3.5 million on their way through City Hall?” [You’d think the city would be willing to just go ahead and spend this found money on some sort of large infrastructure project…] If rightful owner of the money can’t be found soon, the giant wad of cash may [reluctantly] be used for “improvements” to streets surrounding the new Saints stadium.

Headline: Ballpark EAW ready for review
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: The “environmental assessment worksheet” for the stadium was recently on display, though nobody seems to know what this means. Parking was not mentioned.

Headline: Zoning study proposes raising height limit on Grand’s west end; new apartment buildings could be up to 20 stories
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: The city released a zoning study of the West End of Grand Avenue [after a year-long moratorium] that will permit buildings along the street of up to 20-stories. Article points to “neighborhood angst” that not enough was being done to provide affordable housing for students in the area. The study was released for public comment by the Planning Commission. Article includes quote from city planner, who says that the recommendations fit well with city goals “to have greater housing density.” [I’m surprised that the moratorium, which was intended to examine supply and demand of housing in the area, didn’t try to limit housing for students, but don’t you think 20-stories seems a bit excessive? –Ed.] Parking was not mentioned.

Headline: Developer withdraws plan for five-unit residence on Marshall
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: A developer had planned to tear down and re-build a home on with more units Marshall Avenue [across from St Paul College], but then thought better of it [for seemingly no reason]. Parking was not mentioned.

Headline: St Paul considers allowing small breweries to sell beer by the glass
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: [Just kidding! April Fool’s!]

Headline: Wider Lowertown sidewalk granted
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: In a low-key decision, the sidewalk along 6th street facing Mears Park will be widened to accommodate sidewalk cafés. There was no discussion. [It seems like nobody from the general public attended the City Council meeting? For shame, Saint Paul. Where’s the civic involvement? Then again, it’s a little known fact that most government work is really boring!]

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