Reading the Highland Villager #164

[Whole Foods Villagers.]
[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: City's 2017 budget is further squeezed as state deadline looms; Court ruling could threaten millions in street assessments
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The city uses property taxes to pay for things. The state used to help by using income taxes to pay for things [which is better because rich people pay more] but the legislature is terrible right now so that's a problem. Also getting non-profits and government buildings to pay for things like roads is tricky and involves some legalese.

Headline: Housing on the rebound; Limited inventory of homes for sale lifts prices near to where they were before the bubble burst
Author: Larry Englund

Short short version: People want to own homes in Saint Paul and will pay a lot for them, from a historical standpoint, especially in Mac-Grove, Highland, Merriam Park/Lex-Ham, and Summit Hill.

Headline: Rezoning along three miles of Snelling ave. discussed Oct 4
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: There will be a meeting for neighborhood groups along a busy street with good transit to talk about whether it makes sense to allow more density along the street. Neighbors are concerned about something, but the article does not say what. [I'm going to go out on a limb and guess... traffic and parking?]

Headline: Union Park board approves proposal to trim its numbers
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: A neighborhood group is going to reduce the size of its board from 25 to 21 in the hopes of getting members who are more involved and having fewer vacancies. [This is the Union Park group and it's interesting that they have vacancies because when the neighborhood group was put together people complained about the consolidation, e.g. from Lex-Ham, and how they wouldn't be represented or something, IIRC.] The group now has a transportation committee. [That's a great idea and every neighborhood group should have a transportation committee so that they can learn about some of the trade-offs with street design and get a bigger-picture view of these issues.]

Headline: Grand Avenue establishments plan Oktoberfest for Sept. 24
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: People will drink beer, eat sausage, and listen to Polka music. Neighbors are concerned about noise, litter, and misbehavior. One quote form a neighbor: "[Grand Avenue] is "beseiged by festivals." [Funny coincidence there, because "Beseiged By Festivals" is the name of the second album of my conceptual indie folk band, Broadfire Volcano. "Beseiged by festivals" is the best phrase since New York City was "begrimed" by bike sharing. Also, this would make a great Villager cartoon. Here's hoping!]

Headline: Support builds for allowing liquor stores to stay open later
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: Maybe by mid-October you can buy beer after 8pm during the week. [Part of the great beseiging, I think.]

Headline: Summit Hill Assn. opposes plan to expand Linwood-Monroe School' Neighbors say the latest revision is still too large for the Osceola Ave. lot
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The school board wants to expand a school, a building intended for educating children, but neighbors are concerned about the loss of the outdoor play area and changes to the character of the neighborhood. [I love the whole "character of the neighborhood" thing the most. I wonder what that could be code for? Young people? Traffic and parking?] The expanded school needs a variance for lot coverage from 35% to 39.5%. One quote says the new building would be a "tiny postage stamp on a lot." [So, like a building then?] "Several neighbors disputed the need for the extensive improvements to handicapped accessibility." [I thought I was the only one who picks on the disabled... Well, me and Trump.]

Headline: Thompson Hall club offers change to practice sign language over coffee
Author: Loren Green

Short short version: There's an old building that has long been a club for deaf people and there are plans to open a coffee shop there so you can go there and drink coffee and use free wi-fi and maybe use sign language if you want to. However the building is zoned residential so that won;'t be allowed. [Why not rezone it? Wouldn't people drinking coffee and learning about ASL and deaf people be a great thing? Marshall Avenue should probably be TN anyway, right?]

Headline: St. Thomas offers update, invites feedback on campus master plan
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The University of Saint Thomas is planning what to do with its land and buildings in the future. Neighbors would like more on-campus student housing. [Along with a requirement that first- and second-year students live on campus, this would be a welcome change. IMO it often takes a few years for Tommies to learn how to live in a city without being terrible, or so I have heard.] There are a lot of meetings planned. Article states that "there is no desire to increase enrollment." [I bet these meetings are no fun.]

Headline: Union Park's first district plan on way to City council for approval
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: A neighborhood wrote a plan for itself that will be passed and adopted.The goal is to "preserve desirable assets ... while trying to address changes and meet future needs." It also seems to emphasize walkabiltiy and more density on transit corridors. [Sounds great!]

Headline: City signs off on Mac-Groveland Plan
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: Basically the same as the previous article except with a different neighborhood, preserving "small town feel" [Saint Paul is not a small town FYI, so what this means is vague but would be worth talking about at length sometime, for example, is the "small town feel" traffic and parking related or does it have to do with sidewalks and small businesses or people tipping their cap when they stroll or what?], and a dog park. [They key is that these plans need to be actually referred to and used when ti comes to actually following through on thins like more density along a transit line. I hear that there's a development on Snelling that is apparently too tall or something even though increasing density on a transit line is exactly what plans like these call for.]

Headline: Palace playground nears completion
Author: Loren Green

Short short version: A [long-delayed] rec center remodeling is almost done. The last thing to be built is the playground and ballfield. [That's it. Kind of a light edition of the Highland Villager this time!]

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