Reading the Highland Villager #179

[Guys reading the Villager on Grand Avenue.]
[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: Joint venture spurs the redevelopment of Midway Center: Irgens to lead the rebuilding effort around new stadium
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The strip mall around the proposed soccer stadium in the Midway is going through some legal gymnastics involving the Port Authority and a “real estate subsidiary.” The stadium construction will begin this summer. The ownership and leasing of the strip mall details are quite complicated. There might be new restaurants and housing someday. If anything is built soon it will be along Snelling Avenue. One Port Authority voted against the deal asking why an RFP hadn’t been issued, and an actual process used to choose the developer. [Port Authority is all about back-room deals. This isn’t the first time they’ve had a “no bid” situation.] The stadium still needs a tax exemption from the State Legislature.

Headline: Citizens brace for long summer of street work; Five projects will tear up Highland Village alone
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: City streets require expensive maintenance from time to time which means you can’t drive on them during that time.

Headline: Study recommends rezoning Snelling for more density
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The Planning commission is looking at changing zoning along Snelling Avenue, a major transit corridor. One neighborhood group is in favor of the changes, but two haven’t decided yet. [Much of the Snelling area is not yet zoned using “traditional neighborhood” zoning codes, which were introduced to much of the city about 10 years ago. TN zoning has design controls involving things like transparency and reducing sidewalk-facing parking lots and allows for mixed-use buildings. The city should have switched to TN zoning along major commercial streets long ago, IMO, because it better reflects the actual historic fabric of the neighborhood, let alone future uses.]

Headline: City Council approves lot split for hotel, historic fire station
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: A hotel is planned for an empty parking lot area by West 7th Street. A guy who used to own a [dilapidated] flower shop wants to build a restaurant and is upset about the hotel developer for some reason. There’s also an old fire station on the block.

Headline: City survey seeks comment on new types of LED streetlights
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: there are a few areas of town where you can see different types of LED streetlights. Neighbors are upset about the new LED bulbs being too bright. [This is actually a really interesting issue and if you have time one night you should go check out the different bulb installations. It’s like a Christmas light tour for urban design nerds.]

Headline: Bike, walking trails are among new uses being studied for Ford rail spur
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: An old abandoned railroad line might be used for something. The city got a grant to study how to use it. [Make it the Saint Paul “midtown greenway”.] There will be a committee. Someday there might be transit on the line too because it’s one of the options for the Riverview project.

Headline: Hartford Ave. home remodeled gets his variance, but not without a fight
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: A guy in Highland will get to expand a house he owns by an extra 2’6”. Something else too involving a setback.

Headline: Haulers return with plan for organized trash; But city is now pushing for a dual-track process
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The city is trying to “organize” its currently disorganized trash collection system [like just about every significant city does, for solid fiscal and environmental and equity reasons] and they tried to get the “group of private trash haulers” to come up with a plan. Nobody will talk about how the negotiations are going. The city is working on a backup plan in case the haulers cannot agree. [That seems likely. These guys are not known for their cooperative nature. See also: Tony Soprano.]

Headline: Sixth time’s the charm for Lincoln homeowner
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: A guy on Lincoln Avenue who doesn’t like parking on the street can build a three-car garage. [Three cars?]

Headline: Twelve area projects are wishing on a STAR
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The city has a grant program for “revitalization” that includes things like building rehabs. Article includes a list of the applicants.

Headline: Demolition of Historic Hill duplex considered
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The Heritage Preservation Commission will look at whether a duplex on Chatsworth Street can be knocked down. The owners want to knock it down to expand an automotive repair place. [Just what Saint Paul needs.] Quote from HPC chair: “The worst thing we could see there is a parking lot.” [Way to go HPC.]

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