Reading the Highland Villager #124

[Villagers mount up in a West Saint Paul grocery.]
[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: Concerns rise over height of Cleveland Ave. building; Residents also uneasy about traffic parking [You could put that subtitle after *any* Highland Villager story. It's like that game with the fortune cookie fortunes.]
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: [In a particular bit of irony] Edina Realty wants to re-develop their old building into a four-story mixed-use building. [Silly realtors, what with the market-driven real estate thing...] There was a public meeting that people went to to say that the building was too large, too dense. It would have 53 market rate apartments above office or retail on the ground floor. The building height is 10' above the non-CUP zoning heights. Article includes quote from a [somehow reasonable] man: "We live in an urban area; something is going to be build here." Third best quote: "The answer is a parking ramp." [Does it matter what the question is?] Neighbors are also concerned about parking and congestion. Second best quote, from a resident: "Expecting tenants and customers to use underground parking is a 'Pollyanna' approach." Best quote, from an anonymous woman:  "It's lovely, but it belongs in Woodbury." [OMGOMGOMG! That's even harsh for me!]

Headline: City envisions Ford site powered by renewables; 125-acre development would generate all of the energy it needs
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: There is an old hydro power plan under the Ford site, and there was a public meeting about how to make the coming redevelopment of the old auto plant powered by renewables. Engineers and consultants came into town to talk to the people there. District energy is a possibility. [That would be cool! It's super efficient.] There will be more meetings in the future, including one on bikes and sidewalks. A TIF district might fund any energy infrastructure.

Headline: Local projects join those seeking new round of CIB funding; district councils ar among the first set to review proposals
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The capital improvement budget applications for city money for projects and things from the Highland Villager coverage area are listed here. For example, money for a circus school, improvements to parks and rec centers, a "kitchen and event space" for a golf course, playground equipment, an improved bike path along the 35E freeway [other side of the sound wall], new pavers in Mears Park, a new fire station, traffic calming at Selby and Snelling, sidewalks for West 7th Street by Sibley Plaza [because the developer isn't improving the streetcape himself?], the 3rd/Kellogg bridge [that is sorta falling down but doesn't technically need to be replaced], lighting for Cleveland Avenue and Wall Street, sidewalks connecting to the Green Line [this should have been funded by the project but should be a no brainer], "Mister Michael Recycles Bicycles is again requesting an off-street bicycle connection between Pascal Street and Ayd Mill Road" [I sense some ennui from the author here], traffic calming for Grand and Syndicate, and more [surrender] orange flags for people to cross the street. [Glad I'm not on that committee. PS fund bike and ped projects!]

Headline: Debate continues over changing parkland dedication regs
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The city wants to increase the amount of money it gets from developers for parks, increasing it for residential and decreasing it for other uses in some cases. The Chamber doesn't like it, nor do affordable housing people. Parks people do like it.

Headline: Council OKs Shepard-Davern rezoning
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The new zoning plans for the Shepard-Davern area at the far end of West 7th Street were passed by the City Council. Nobody came to argue about the Sibley Plaza rezoning. [See previous Villagers. Author seems surprised.]

Headline: New plan for Shepard-Davern area also set; Debate surfaces over future of 'ghost park' [I like the idea of a 'ghost park'. It could be a haven for lost souls in search of more parking.]
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: Neighbors are upset that a "natural tract" along a bluff in the Shepard-Davern area is neglected and full of trash, and would like it to be a higher priority for the city. Article includes history of the park from this book, which claims that the it was one of the city's "ghost parks." One resident would like it used to commemorate native american heritage. [We need more of that.] Article includes details of plan that would [hopefully] make walking wafer by improving intersections. [Good luck, because West 7th street is designed at deadly speeds, basically an uncrossable traffic sewer.]

Headline: Design standards for new home construction discussed
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: People  in the southwest part of the city had a meeting to talk about how to make new houses [probably part of the "teardown" discussion] conform to certain standards about height, lot coverage, fenestration, and other things. Article includes quote from CM Tolbert: "This is a very complex issue." There is a planner who is working on it to "mat the character of neighborhoods and see what trends emerge." Best quote from a neighbor: "You see some siding that you wouldn't even put on a shed."

Headline:  City Council bans practice of backyard archery in St. Paul
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: [Waiting for the Soucheray column on this with bated breath.]

Headline: Committee to review plan for new Grand Ave. apartments
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: Plans for a four-story building on Grand Avenue are going to the zoning committee. Neighbors are neither for nor against the plan. There will be no balconies, and "social activity atop the garage would be banned." Also "the number of visitor parking permits is limited to four." [Reminds me of this.]

Headline: Controversy over on-street parking arises in Ramsey Hill
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: Two new groups have begun on Facebook to advocate for more parking in the Selby-Western area after a restaurant opened up in an old art school administration building there. The owner of one restaurant would like "two-sided parking" on residential streets, but neighbors do not like the idea. One-sided parking has been in place since 1967, because "it is a mater of public safety for emergency vehicle access as well as more effective snowplowing." Article includes enigmatic quote: "the one-sided parking ban was enacted for political reasons." [Parking conspiracy! I don't have strong opinions about this. There are plenty of narrow streets in South Minneapolis that seem not to burn down, and cars get around just fine. In the winter you can enact temporary bans, lke they do sometimes, no?]

Headline: City condemns Concordia Ave. house damaged by fire in 2013
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: A house that mostly burned two years ago must be torn down.

Headline: Snelling, Ford and east 46th will be torn up for much of '15 [I know that technically the Highland Villager's coverage area extends into parts of Minneapolis, but it's always weird to see them actually mention Minneapolis in a story. It's like the seeing Brett Favre in a Vikings jersey.]
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: Roads that need to be reconstructed periodically will be reconstructed, and also a [nice new] aBRT bus line will be installed. Article includes quotes from the transit planner about the new stops. Snelling will be getting new sidewalks between Pierce Butler Route and Selby Avenue. [Not that it'll make crossing the street much safer...] Ford Parkway will be getting bike lanes [despite the fact that the city didn't want to put it on the bike plan].


Anonymous said...

What did you think of the 1721 Princeton editorial piece?

Trevor Henry said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Trevor Henry said...


Let's say I am north of Saint Clair on Grotto. Suddenly I approach a strange development around Goodrich etc. Is that what we are discussing with the whole home tear down and rebuild thing? Is that the issue?



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