Reading the Highland Villager #82

[The Villager... still waiting for spring.]
[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: CVA action abandons effort to save art school; College of Visual Arts trustees give group two weeks to raise $3 million
Reporter: Kevin Driscoll

Short short version: The group of people trying to save the soon to be closing CVA in St Paul have given up. There seemed to be wrinkles over whther or not to have students in the coming calendar year. There seem to be a lot of castigations of the board of trustees. [The word “trustee” seems sorely misapplied here. It implies someone who keeps something safe and secure.] Article has very little hope.

Headline: Bill calls for vote on forming child care providers union
Reporter: Roger Barr
Short short version: [I’m not aware of having done this?]

Headline: Exercise clubs must be quieter, can add group fitness rooms
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: People dropping barbells are annoying other people in St Paul, and the city is now requiring mats on floors. Also, some rules for how to build group exercise rooms. Hot spot is the Mississippi Flats buildings along the river under the High Bridge. Qutoe from a neighbor: “Our ceilings shake. It shifts the pictures on the walls.”

Headline: Survey shows how to make Central Corridor more walkable
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: The District Councils Collaborative [a group of nonprofits and neighborhood groups, like one of those supergroups from the 70s] did a study that said we need better sidewalks with trees and benches. They looked at all the sidewalks around there and identified places where they suck. Problem area is around I-94, especially the Snelling Avenue bridge. the problem is: who will pay for it? [Another problem is the city’s reluctance to do any real traffic calming, such as a 4-3 conversion on Hamline Avenue. –Ed.]

Headline: Long-range plan for riverfront OK’d
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: The city approved the Great River Passage [already much discussed in the Villager and on this website]. The images will be labeled “conceptual.” Article includes lots of gladhanding.

Headline: Union Park rejects restrictions for Buffalo Wild Wings’ liquor license
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: The neighborhood group rejected a proposal to restrict the liquor license for the sports bar proposed for the former Cheapo Records site in a strip mall on Snelling Avenue. Varios reasons include discomfort.  Much wrangling over the closing time: 10, 11, 1, or 2 AM? Best anti Wild Wing comment: “Their clientele is going to be a lot of young people.” [OMG not young people! I hate young people, especially the horrible laughter of children.] Number of uses of the word “liveable”: 2

Headline: Council expands permit parking district on Finn Street near UST
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: Parking around Finn Street and Grand Avenue will now require a residential permit. Best quote from neighbor: “We’ve got construction workers coming out of our ears.”

Headline: Qdoba is denied variance for new Highalnd Village restaurant; Mexican Grill appeals matter to City Council
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: A fast-food burrito joint is unable to build a new building on Ford Parkway because their proposed building is too small. Only 6 parking spaces are required, but Qdoba wants to build 16.

Headline: St. Paul releases redevelopment guidelines to protect West End
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: A city study was released to control redevelopment along the west end of Grand Avenue. [All prompted by a student-oriented apartment building near the St Thomas campus.] According to the plan [which will surely be passed, regardless] new development “should have the same scale, proportion, colors, open spaces, and character of adjacent buildings.” Article doesn’t include actual zoning specifics. [I read this and can’t really comment on it because it’ll come to the Planning Commission again. Link to details here.]

Headline: St. Paul sees increase in requests for Neighborhood STAR funding
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: City Sales Tax Revitalization money (STAR) is in hot demand. Article consists mainly of details of requests.

Headline: Local housing market is showing signs of stabilization
Reporter: Larry Englund

Short short version: House prices are not going down any more. Few houses are for sale, and fewer houses are being sold while "distressed." The changes in price are specific to certain neighborhoods. Longfellow and St Paul-West End have seen prices rise while Mendota Heights and Summit Hill [e.g. the wealthier areas] continue decline slightly.

Headline: BZA grants parking variance for Ethiopian restaurant on West 7th
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: Ras restaurant [on the far West end of West 7th] can stay open even though its parking lot is not large enough for the city's minimum parking regulations. [Minimum parking regulations are such a horrorshow. This restaurant, where a lot of clientele are on foot from the surrounding neighborhoods, is a great example of why that is. -Ed.]  

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