Reading the Highland Villager #135

[Villagers perch a few miles past the top of the High Bridge.]
[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: Coleman puts Midway site in play for major league soccer; Mayor invites MLS to tour 34.5 acres at University-Snelling
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: A bunch of really rich people from West of Minneapolis want to build soccer stadium in Minneapolis but are looking at Saint Paul anyway, and the mayor and others are enthusiastic.  The most talked-about spot is owned by Metro Transit, is right next to the freeway and Snelling Avenue [which is pretty much a freeway] and has been a parking lot for decades. There are thoughts that the stadium will "jump-start" development of the old [almost unwalkable] strip mall on the rest of the site. Article references the $31M gap in parking structures that were preventing development on the site in a study released last year. The Chamber of Commerce is also excited. Mayor says "It's too early to talk about financing." There is talk of TIF money being used, but there is a limit on the city's TIF capacity and others would like to use it for the Ford redevelopment. Article includes quote from neighborhood group about the "proposal moving too quickly [to allow] meaningful discussion." Neighbors want limits on parking. [Good! That's a big key to whether this plan will work for the city or not.]

Headline: New home design standards posed for approval; reduced height and lot coverage limits in store for new Highland, Mac-Grove homes
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The city council is set to approve new limits on the size of "teardowns" in the most affluent part of the city. Some neighbors want a moratorium on teardowns. [I'm of the opinion that these standards won't really solve the problem that some people would like it to solve; developers will keep doing that they've been doing, which has everything to do with real estate markets, capitalism, and private property and historical trends around home size.] Article includes details about lot size coverage and height restrictions. [Also concerning is having separate zoning codes for wealthier vs. less affluent parts of the city.]

Headline: Coming home to Fort Snelling; veterans are moving into 58 new housing units on Upper Post
Author: Kevin Driscoll

Short short version: Cool historic buildings by Fort Snelling owned by the Veterans Administration are going to have people (veterans) living in them. [Seems great.]

Headline: High Bridge scheduled to close for redecking in 2017
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: A bridge [by my house] will get a new driving surface and be closed while its under construction. [I can only hope that Mn-DOT will do something to make Smith Avenue more pedestrian friendly while this is going on! It's almost impossible to cross the street and bumpouts would go a long way to fixing that problem.] Article includes quote from neighbor who wants stairs "added back" to the bridge to connect the West 7th area to the dog park and riverfront. [That would be crazy expensive, but interesting that they'd existed in the past. Also, it would be really cool if they could maintain bike/ped access during construction.]

Headline: Jobs, housing at redeveloped Fort site discussed on July 22
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: There will be jobs and housing at the old truck factory.

Headline: St. Paul accepts $6M grant for new facility for homeless
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The new Dorothy Day homeless shelter sill get a grant.

Headline: Financing for new Davern Hill sidewalk approved by council
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: A really hilly street in Highland that has never had a sidewalk even though tons of people walk on it is finally getting a sidewalk even though it's not "historic" for people not to walk in places where they might be hit by cars. Also some other streets. The HPC voted against the sidewalk. [I agree with HPC about lots of things but when it means putting people in danger, I just don't get it at all.]

Headline: City Council awards STAR funds to four area projects
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: Two projects on long-vacant lots in Selby Avenue, a noodle restaurant in Lowertown, and a café on Grand Avenue will get city grants to improve their buildings.

Headline: Bonds approved for addition to Recording Arts High School
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: A high school on University Avenue will get some city money.

Headline: Target Express rolls out; downsized store opens July 22 in Highland Village
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: A small Target is where a Barnes and Noble used to be. Both had parking lots for people to store their cars while they shop.

Headline: Johnson Bros. withdraws Shepard Road apartments plan; new ideas, new partners sought for 19-acre project
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: A developer who had wanted to build a building with apartments by West 7th, Shepard Road, and the river is not interested anymore after the city, led by neighbohroods, told them they couldn't build it six-stories tall. They're looking for new ideas, but nobody knows how long it will take.

Headline: STAR funds fill $57,500 gap in Marshall median financing
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: [In a long-running saga] the city has found some sales tax money to fund a median in the middle of a street with businesses along it where lots of people try to cross the street. The city had had a grant from Macalester but the money was taken away when the project added a turn lane for a liquor store.

Headline: Support grows for return of West End's Stone Saloon
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: A really old building is being rehabbed and will eventually become a brewery.

Headline: Zoning Committee splits over plan for new Grand condo;Commissioners are OK with rezoning single-family lot but not needed variances
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The Planning Commission's Zoning Committee voted to not approve tearing down a single family house to replace it with an apartment building. [In the full Commission, the plan was rejected on an 8-6 vote. The building was a pretty close to the same size as the 1920s apartment buidlings on either side of it, only with underground parking.] Article includes details about exact lot coverage percentages. The neighborhood group did not like the proposal, saying it was "out of scale" and because of "parking issues." [Is it hard to park near Grand Avenue?]

Headline: Controversial lot split clears way for new Fairmount Ave. home
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: A woman wants to remove her swimming pool and build a handicapped-accessible house there instead of selling it to someone and having them tear down everything and build two houses. The Board of Zoning Appeals approved the lot split on a 4-3 vote. Article includes quote from neighbor: "Like everyone else, I have been dismayed at the overbuilding in our neighborhood." [Like everyone else, I don't own a car.]

Headline: Low turnout offers little direction for Riverview transit line
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The county wants to build some sort of transit line down the West 7th Street corridor only nobody knows where and nobody seems to care enough at this point to even come to public meetings about it. Article includes map with many many lines on it. [Sometimes you gotta just jump into the pool.] Article includes quote from neighbor: "People may be jaded because this has been discussed for so long."

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