13.11.13

Reading the Highland Villager #96

[The Villager, my friend, is blowin in the wind.]
[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.]


Title: City lines up financing for new ballpark in Lowertown
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The city found some money for the Saints stadium [in the backseat of Soucheray's Lincoln, behind Onyx John, by scuba-diving the bottom of Lake Phalen] through $8M in bonds and a loan from the Housing and Redevelopment Authority from the "parking fund." Article includes quotes from Saints boosters. CM Thune is worried about parking. Interest rates are lower than expected.


Title: Ford Parkway in line for redo; County has designs on overhauling stretch from Snelling to Howell
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The county is going to be reconstructing a large chunk of Ford Parkway [but not the important part by "the Village"]. It is only two-lanes in this stretch, but some 'neighbors" are still complaining about speeding traffic. They county had a meeting about it. Bike lanes are on the table, as well as a median, and more sophisticated turn lanes. [I was at a meeting about this, and the county's proposal looks good, though they still need to get excemptions from the "state aid standards" in order to complete a design that's actually safe for everyone. How stupid is that?  Those standards are going to be changing soon, right? Isn't the state supposed to adopt a complete streets policy at some point?] Article includes quote from County Commissioner Ortega hand-wringing about whether one lane in each direction will be enough in the future. There will be more meetings. [Hot button issue, folks! We might get a quality bike lane out of this, which, you know, doesn't happen too often in Shelbyville.]


Title: Committee favors permit, rezoning for memory care facility; White Pine looks to remodel former convent in Highland
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: A ex-convent on Prior Avenue [as opposed to an ex-con vent, which is where rehabilitated felons go to kvetsch] will become a place for people who are lowing their memory. [Imagine the wayfinding signage at that place.] It was originally going to be a home for people with chemical dependency issues, but neighbors complained about that. The building has more parking than they really need. 


Title: Committee to review site plan for new bank at Snelling-Selby [the Snelby neological moniker has not yet been approved by the Villager's style guide]
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The plan for the first part of the Snelby project is about to be approved. This isn't the large corner project plan, the traffic plan, or the shared [PID!] parking lot plan.


Title: Effort to preserve Ford plant history is running out of time
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: People are trying to save parts of the old Ford truck plant. There's a group that's been formed, the "Save Our Ford Heritage Committee." [I think 270 million US cars and 1/2 of our city paved into parking lots and roads is a pretty good "Ford heritage."] Article seems skeptical about preserving any of the building's facade.


Title: Feline Rescue gets permit to expand Fairview Ave. shelter
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: A cat shelter Fairview can expand. ["Now with more cats!"]


Title: Gas pipeline reconstruction set along Highway 55 corridor
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: There will be a new pipeline along Hiawatha by Coldwater Spring and Minneahaha Park [you know, where they had the whole thing with the sacred Dakota sites and the trees and the sit-ins and everything].


Title: Study will look at shrinking University Ave. to single lane
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: There will be a $115K study to look at adding on-street parking [and presumably bike lanes] along University Avenue. Article includes brief mention of pros and cons. [What do you think? I am intrigued by this, but skeptical that anyone will have the guts to pull it of.]


Title: Commission OKs use of former Mac alumni house as a duplex
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: A house on Lincoln can be a duplex again.


Title: City reviews its options in rezoning former Ford plant
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The study for the Ford plant site is finished [sort of]. The city is deciding whether to come up with new zoning for the property, or to leave it alone. [That seems like a no-brainer to me.] "Scenarios" from 2007 all involved mixed-use development in different patterns.. Nobody knows how much of the land is polluted. All this will take a long, long time.


Title: Summit-U is striding toward a more walkable Dale Street
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: There was a "walkability charette" to look at Dale Street north of Selby [aka. the part that completely sucks because the street is too wide]. People came up with the following ideas: brighter lights, wider sidewalks, more medians, slower traffic, and re-timed lights. The sidewalks are 4' wide with large turning radii, especially by the I-94 bridge. Dale is a county road, but the county is considering a "road diet." [That's the obvious solution, which means it probably won't be considered very strongly.] Article includes comment from a community member about the Nice Ride rack on Dale: "It gives the impression that Dale Street is safe for biking. It is not."


Title: Federation's effort to renovate 17 West End homes is dealt setback
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The neighborhood group along West 7th Street is trying to develop and rehab buildings by the base of the high bridge, but the City Council denied them a developer status. Apparently the City Council wants to keep rehab policies open to anyone, not just to certain neighborhood groups.


Title: Not up to par; Growing deficits at St. Paul's municipal courses have city officials pushing for privatizations of Como and Phalen links
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: St Paul's golf courses have been losing money for years, and the city is going to think about hiring private companies to run them instead of the city. [IMO, that won't really work. Golf is the problem with these golf courses, not who's running them.] The vote was delayed.

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