Reading the Highland Villager #159

[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. Until this newspaper goes online, sidewalk information must be set free. See also: Three Reasons Why I Re-Blog the Highland Villager.] 

Headline: Ford says pollution won't stop it from cleaning up plant as city envisioned
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The old Ford auto plant was demolished a while ago and the dirt underneath it isn't too polluted to prevent anyone from building housing on the site. [That's what happened in the Victoria Park area, where the city had to build park land on half the site instead of buildings.] There was a meeting at a church about it. It's going to take years to clean up the site. They will have to take dirty dirt away and put clean dirt back. [For "clean dirt," see also, scroll down.] Article includes brief history of the site. One parking lot has a lot of petroleum contamination. Another has solvents and heavy metals. There are mines under the bedrock. [I might or might not have been in these tunnels. There might or might not be an abandoned haunted house in there.] 

Headline: Axtell's selection as St. Paul's new police chief is roundly applauded
Author: Kevin Driscoll

Short short version: Saint Paul has a new police chief. [Jeez, what a way to start the job.]

Headline: Seeking new direction, School Board ousts Silva
Author: Kevin Driscoll

Short short version: Saint Paul will have a new schools superintendent, after paying the old one $700,000 to leave. [About the same price as they paid David Glass to leave.]

Headline: Six-story building planned for Snelling-St. Clair corner; Luxury apartments would replace six small businesses [Note: Headline is a bit misleading as it will be apartments AND commercial space, in which there will be businesses, one assumes, some of which might even be the same businesses, at least in theory.]
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: There are plans to tear down a one-story strip mall and build a large apartment building instead. The 33-space parking lot will also be replaced. The property will need to be rezoned. [Presumably to Traditional Neighborhood zoning, which it should be already? Not sure why it isn't.] Article includes the sentence: "tenants would likely be local professionals or people who no longer want to maintain a single-family home." [But not young people, thank goodness.] Article quotes local neighborhood group guy saying "that area cries out for redevelopment." Neighbors concerned about parking are hoping that the new building owners will allow them to lease some of the new spaces. But article also quotes neighborhood guy saying "We don't have a solution to the parking issues as we're standing here." [Where is the solution to the parking issues to be found? Navel gazing gets us nowhere. We need a quest.] Article includes the following sentence: "Some committee members suggested marketing the new apartments to tenants who want a car-free lifestyle and offering incentives for renters who do not own a car. [And at this point the Villager ceased to exist.]

Headline: St. Paul may require all employers to offer paid sick time; Business owners don't like one-size-fits-all approach
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: Some people want businesses to pay people when they're sick so they don't come to work sick and get healthy faster, but some businesses don't like the idea.

Headline: City approves new five-year recycling contract with Eureka
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The city will keep the same recycling comapny for the net five years. There will be new lidded carts. Fees will go up.Some new things may or may not get recycled, including organics like compost. The old blue bins make good garden baskets. [See more on this situation in my Park Bugle story.]

Headline: St. Paul set to take final vote on rules for protecting river; Comments on planned revisions due by July 6
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The DNR is going to decide how to regulate areas around the river, a lot of which is in Saint Paul. This might affect the Shepard-Davern, Island Station, and Ford plant areas. [And also hugely affect the West Side, but that's outside of the Villager coverage area so... crickets.] Slope and bluff regulations are particularly ornery.

Headline: Planning Commission to rule on liquor license for 128 Cafe
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: A restaurant [in a three-story apartment building] by a college wants a liquor license for which they needed a change of a zoning permit. [The Planning Commission, of which I am a member, granted it.]

Headline: Parking congestion in Ramsey Hill addressed in July 11 forum
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: There will be a meeting to talk about parking. Data will be used. [That's unusual!] There are more restaurants by the Cathedral now. [Oh my. The next thing you know, people will be walking around on the sidewalks!]

Headline: BZA grants distance variance so Midway Smokes can move
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: A vape store will be allowed to move across the street from a strip mall, even though the new location is already close to an existing tobacco store. The smoke shop has been around for almost 20 years.

Headline: Snelling-Dayton used car lot is being eyed for new parking lot
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: A used car lot "burned down." Now the guy who owns it wants to park 18 cars and 6 bikes there. Some neighbors like the idea [because parking]. Others asked if a building could be there instead, but the owner says it's too small for a building. [Maybe if they built a small building? It's like a large building but smaller.]

Headline: Market-rate micro apartments planned for Territorial Road
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: [Micro apartments! See, that's like what I meant by "small building." One thing you can do is make things smaller. It's like the difference between a large coffee and a small coffee, for instance.] Warehouse property will be replaced with 80-unit apartment building. They will only be 400 square feet. [First the whole thing about renters without cars, and now this? What is this Villager coming to?]

Headline: Planning Commission considers expanding the use of City House
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: An old grain elevator that is owned currently used as a history museum space might be run by the Parks Department so that they can do [crazy] things like sell food and beverages there in the future. [Note: this is easily the front-runner for winner of the Saint Paul "beer by the river" test. Also note: This passed unanimaoulsy at the Planning Commission, of which I am a member.] There might be food trucks there in the future. [Hopefully with electric hook-ups.] The building has a fascinating history as being a grain co-op [aimed at destroying the Minneapolis grain monopoly]. There had been plans to make a restaurant there but they fell through for some reason.

Headline: Rondo Land Trust proposes mixed-use buildings on Selby
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: Three lots that have been vacant forever [in a prime location] on Selby Avenue might finally get buildings. It will be mixed-use commercial and 34 senior apartments. They might be done by 2018. Funding is complicated. It will be "land trust," which means that the people won't own them but they will stay affordable. Article explains the concept. [Land trust is really interesting.]

Headline: Six-story apartment building eyed for vacant Lexington-University lot; Public subsidies sought for $40M building's 243 affordable housing units
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: Affordable housing developers want to build on a parcel just South of University Avenue. Funding is complicated. Article includes details about architecture including building materials and landscaping "to maintain its parkway feel." [Parkway feel = freeway speeds.] One neighbor says there's already enough affordable housing in the area. [There's a whole debate about this.] There are no off-street parking minimums for the building because it's close to the light rail, but the developer will build 82 spaces anyway. The site once was the spot of Lexington Ballpark, where the Saints played. [Like everything else] they might open in 2018.

Headline: BZA allows Beechwood lot split for new two-story home
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The owners of a home in Highland will be allowed to tear their house down and build two houses on the land instead. Neighbors are concerned about what it will look like.

Headline: Water tower tour offers view from the top
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: [The Eye of Mordor will be open to the public this weekend.]


This fortnight's Highland Villager was read to the dramatic tones of Verdi's Un ballo in maschera.

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