Reading the Highland Villager #90

[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: Whole Foods coming to Selby and Snelling
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: The Whole Foods on Grand is going to move into the new apartment development at Snelby. The entrance will be on Selby. [Surprising lack of Chicken Little react quotes in this piece.] “No traffic studies related to the proposed development have been performed.” “Some are hoping that it will give city officials the impetus to resolve the congestion caused by all of the cars entering and existing Ayd Mill Road.” [My opinion is the same; they should get rid of Ayd Mill Road. Everyone in Saint Paul would be better off, even the people on Lexington "Parkway."]

Headline: Cupcake to open on Snelling
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: The cupcake shop, entitled “cupcake,” is going to open across from the new Whole Foods. [Yes, this is the same Cupcake cupcakes that spent a year trying to open a store on Grand, only to be shot down for lack of parking.]  Article includes brilliant quote from bakery owner: “This is kind of a ladies’ corner and many of our customers are ladies who lunch.’ The Snelling store will not need a parking variance because it is currently being used as a cookie bakery. [Very smart, Mr. Cupcake. Very smart. Also, "there goes the neighborhood." Everyone knows that once a Buffalo Wild Wings moves in, a Whole Foods and cupcake shops are sure to follow.]

Headline: St. Paul takes ownership of crumbling Walnut Street wall
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: There’s a historic staircase leading down the bluff behind a Summit Avenue mansion that has been crumbling for some time. Until now, the city had owned the stairs, but the brick wall had been owned by the [presumably filthy rich] people who lived in the Summit Avenue mansion. Back in 1901, there was an agreement between JJ Hill [the man himself] and the city about who owned the land. At the time, Hill had agreed to keep a public right of way along this path. There’s been a legal battle over who should pay for the wall maintenance, which seems to be ending now that the building owners have paid $80K. Fixing the wall will likely cost $300K, according to Public Works. [Hard for me to feel sorry the people who own the second-nicest house on Summit Avenue.]

Headline: District councils ask city to reconsider new funding formula

Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: A recent but long-awaited change to how the city pays neighborhood groups meant to account for population shifts is provoking complaints with those who will lose money. The city keep putting off the change [but maybe this time they’ll do it, as they should. It's only fair].

Headline: St. Paul narrows streetcar study to seven potential routes
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: The city’s streetcar study has been narrowed down to seven finalists for a “starter line:” Payne, East and West 7th, Robert, Rice, Snelby, and Grand. There will be meetings. [This will be a contest to see which neighborhood can squeak its wheels the loudest.]

Headline: Report outlines focus for West Midway industrial development
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: The city is starting to look at how to “revitalize polluted industrial sites” in the area by 280 and Energy Park north of I-94. Article includes the words “industrial workforce development,” revive industry,” and “good-paying jobs.” Quote from CM Stark: “A lot of the current uses in the West Midway are warehouses and trucking, and those don’t generate a lot of jobs.”

Headline: MSP is deemed most efficient large airport in North America
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: Planes fly in and out of the airport on a regular basis.

Headline: Scheffer Ave. house must be demolished in 15 days
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: A vacant house in Highland Park needs to be torn down. Nobody has showed up to follow through.

Headline: St. Paul purchase 9 acres linking Crosby, Victoria parks

Reporter: Jane McClure
Short short version: The city is purchasing land along the riverfront on each side of Shepard Road to run between the new Victoria park and the river parks.

Headline: Permit paves way for reopening Grand-Smith service station
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: The Planning Commission approved a non-conforming use permit for the gas station at the base of Ramsey Hill, by the Children’s hospital. It was rezoned to a “traditional neighborhood” use last year. [The Planning Commission had recommended it be up-zoned to TN3, but after neighbors wrote a few letters, the city council overturned the recommendation and kept it at TN1 (low-density). Sigh. If the city had accepted the TN3 recommendation, I highly doubt this gas station would be going forward on this prime corner.] Gas stations are not allowed in traditional neighborhood zones. The new station will have some landscaping and a new fence.

Headline: A major change for St. Paul golf?
Reporter: Dave Wright

Short short version: The mayor mentioned in passing that “something will be done next year” about the money-losing municipal golf courses in Saint Paul. The Como is the least successful. [Can't happen too soon. I'm sure there are a lot of better uses for this land we can think of. -Ed.]

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