Reading the Highland Villager #112

[Still waiting for yr Villager pics; snap 'em & send 'em, folks!]
[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. Until this newspaper goes online, sidewalk information must be set free.]

Headline: Mayor balances budget with cuts as well as tax hike; $2.4M levy increase would help pay for street repairs, maintain library, rec hours
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The city has a budget deficit. They're going to raise taxes, and cut some employee positions. [City staff are overworked already? Maybe we should be smarter about investments.] PED will get a deputy director position. [Seems like they went over every department's payroll with a fine toothed comb.] Fees are also going up. [Salt costs more now.]

Headline: Mayor unveils $54M plan to repair streets; initiative would borrow from city's long-delayed Street Vitality Program
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: Everyone things the roads in Saint Paul suck. [Well, I kinda do, but not as much as most people probably.] For example, the article includes quotes from Mayor: "no one in this city is satisfied with the conditions of our main roads." But there is a fight about how do do this. The Mayor's plan would come from an existing street repaving program that focuses on neighborhood streets. Article includes quotes from CMs Bostrom and Stark expressing their concerns. [Let's think about how to encourage less driving, and in particular, fewer large in neighborhoods trucks? For example, how about reconstructing some of the arterials to add traffic calming?] Article also includes mention of "the city's new 8-80 fund" aimed at bike and ped proejcts. [I haven't heard of this before?] Article mentions that this fund would pay for a Jackson Street bikeway, the first part of the proposed downtown bike loop. [Kind of a lot to include in the last paragraph of the piece.]

Headline: City finds DNR's river corridor rules too restrictive
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The city staff do not like proposed rules for environmental protections along the Mississippi that would make a lot of existing buildings "nonconforming" for various reasons. [These rules have been in the works for a loooooong time, like over a decade long time.] This might impact places like the Ford Plant site or Island Station or anything along Kellogg Boulevard. [That would suck. Those are all the places we need new buildings.]

Headline: Homeowners can expect increases in taxes and fees in 2015
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: Taxes and fees will go up probably, some neighborhoods more than others.

Headline: Palace, Lexington projects will have to compete again for CIB
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: Money taken from the budgets of two rec centers to complete a bike project that proved more expensive than planned will not be guaranteed. [If that makes sense to you, seek help immediately.] Apparently this is not a big deal because "there is an understanding" that these kinds of projects will keep their precedence. [The CIB committee seems like a rather precarious affair.]

Headline: Ramsey County owes Ford big tax refund for overvaluing its property
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: A judge ruled that the Ford site wasn't worth as much as the county assessors thought. [Maybe because it's so polluted? Thanks Ford!]

Headline: Assisted living facility planned for site of old St. Mary's Home
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: An old place for old nuns might become an new place for old non-nuns.

Headline: Midway Walgreens' move to Snelling-Univeristy approved
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The old [modernist, ugly] bank on the corner of Snelling and University will be retro-fit into a Walgreen's [kitty corner from the CVS] with a new building section and a smaller drive thru. [All we need now is a self-storage facility.]

Headline: TargetExpress eyes July 2014 opening in Highland Village
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The Barnes and Noble will be a Target sometime next year. Nobody knows what will become of the Starbucks. [I am not making this up.]

Headline: County tests new median on Ford Pkwy. at Macalester St.
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The county has installed a "test median" [o, the dreaded test median] to look at traffic patterns. [IMO, if it's a good idea to calm traffic, don't test it. You'll just piss people off. This seems like a good idea.]

Headline: Former Schmidt warehouse sought for self-storage biz
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: A warehouse near the Schmidt brewery development might become a self-storage warehouse [the sure sign of urban revival].

Headline: Work continues on controlling residential teardown problem
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: People are tearing down homes to build larger homes, but CM Tolbert is trying to make sure they have permits and proper dumpsters.

Headline: City awards $350,000 loan for homeless-youth residence
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The city gave some money for a building for homeless youth on University Avenue.

Headline: City approves liquor licenses for Sweet Pea's Public House
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: A bar on Snelling can be open later.

Headline: Little Grocery is fined $900 for violating tobacco regulations
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: A grocery store on University Avenue sold smokes to a kid.

Headline: Metro Transit postpones plan for 2nd bus rapid transit line
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The proposed arterial bus rapid transit project for West 7th is on hold for a bit while the county and city figure out exactly what they're doing.

Headline: Tweaking the experiment; EXCO studies new path for nontraditional classes
Author: Frank Jossi

Short short version: The Twin Cities "experimental college" teaches you stuff like how to ride bikes.

Headline: Firm appeals reuse of former College of Visual Arts site
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: A social service non-profit wants to use the apartment building on Dayton as an office that was formerly offices for an art school but nearby property owners aren't allowing it, pending further review. [At least I think so. I don't know. *scratches head*]

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