Reading the Highland Villager #95

[A Villager refuses to blow away.]
[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: Central Corridor construction work enters final phase; Attention shifts from helping businesses survive to spurring growth along the light-rail line
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: LRT will be done sometime in the spring. Fewer people are calling to complain about it, just asking for the location of the [nonexistent] park and ride lots. City staff is focusing on creating a redevelopment boom. Article includes recap of various construction mitigation programs. [This really won't be a problem. The focus should be on insisting on the best possible development.]

Headline: Light-rail streetscape assessments loom
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: Property owners will have to pay money for nicer sidewalks. The city is paying or a bunch of the cost thorough TIF and other money, but it'll still be expensive.

Headline: First of two site plans aired for Snelling-Selby redevelopment
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: There is now a rendering and site plan for half the redevelopment project at Snelby.The planning commission and city council seem supportive. [Frankly, I'm surprised at the lack of sturm und drang about this project by notoriously NIMBY St Paul. Maybe the city is growing up a bit...] Article includes discussion of the need for parking, including the city's shared lot proposal. Quote from a skeptical property owner: "People who will be impacted still don't know how this will affect them." Article includes PID proposal. [This will take a bit of courage on the behalf of the Selby-Snelling Business Association, but they really should step up and buy into the shared parking lot + improvement district proposal. People will pay a bit extra for a convenient parking spot. Plus, what's the alternative? I'd be interested in hearing what anyone knows about these discussions.] Article includes rendering.

Headline: Outcome unclear on St. Paul College's appeal for electronic sign
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The [community] college [with aspirations] next to the cathedral wants a flashier sign. They are arguing with the Board of Zoning Appeals over how many colors it can have, and how often it can change. The City Council seems on the fence.

Headline: BZA approves sign variance for former St. Paul Post Office
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: [Boy these BZA meetings sure sound like an exciting time, eh?] The developer who is changing the old post office into apartments can have a larger-than-normal banner on the building.

Headline: Dale Street walkability to be reviewed during workshops
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: There will be a "workshop" to talk about Dale Street north of University Avenue [and how it's completely terrible to walk along because of the 4-lane + turn lane alignment that happened after they widened the hell out of it after WWII. uh. I'm sure this will fix everything... not].

Headline: Commission grants permit for Unidale Mall Farmers' Market
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: A [largely people-of-color people'd] farmer's market in the [huge] parking lot of the [dumpy] strip mall will be allowed to continue to exist as long as they provide trash cans.

Headline: Jefferson, Griggs bikeway projects delayed until spring
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: [Sigh.] Construction won't be happening on Jefferson or Griggs bike boulevards because the bids came in too high. Charles Avenue will still be constructed this fall. [Q: I am really curious why bike project bids are so high, not just here, but in other areas too. Does anyone have any ideas????]

Headline: Council voices concerns over unused Cultural STAR grants
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: City funds awarded for arts and culture projects haven't all been spent, and city council members seem to be debating what to do about the leftover money. [I am not sure what kind of arts or culture groups these are, but if anyone needs help spending the money, give me a call.] Article includes quote from resident trying to spend money on a new stage for the Park Square, and how it's time consuming to get city approval.

Headline: St. Kate's considers building new science, sports facilities
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: St Paul's women's university may build new buildings on the south part of campus.

Headline: Commission OKs Concordia's plan to convert house for academic use; Marshall AVe. dorm to be used for physical therapy program
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The Planning Commission approved a plan to change a dorm into classroom and office space on Marshall Avenue. There will be a new entrance, roof, and a re-paved parking lot.

Headline: Island Station sold; Demolition planned, but future use of riverfront property remains uncertain
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The old [eerily beautiful, and obsolete since the day it was born] coal plant in the river valley was sold to an AZ developer for $4M. It's going to be torn down before winter. Nobody knows what's going to happen next.

Headline: Council rejects appeal for Lombard Avenue parking pad
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: A guy in the Summit Hill area tried again to build a parking lot in his front yard, but no luck. Apparently parking his car is difficult. Article includes quote from CM Thune, who was upset by the decision: "This isn't grade school and we're not punishing people."

Headline: One-bin system, more plastic pickups to roll out this spring; St. Paul hopes the changes will increase public's interest in recycling
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: You can put all your recycling into one blue plastic bin now. [Including the Highland Villager.]


Alex said...

It looks like they tore down a bunch of buildings fronting on Dale in order to accomplish the widening. Always a great idea in a struggling neighborhood.

Julie said...

Could the bike project bids be getting higher because the projects were budgeted and planned when the economy was somewhat bleaker, and as the economy/employment picture has improved, costs have increased?

+ obamacare etc. panic.