Reading the Highland Villager #203

[A Selby Villager.]
[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: Citizens League study opens the debate over $15 minimum wage
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: [Fifteen dollars an hour isn’t that much money, sez I, the guy who earns very little money.] There’s a debate in the City Council over the details of the policy. [There seems to be broad buy-in about this at the Council level, though it will be interesting to see who carries water for the Chamber or small businesses against the wage increase.]

Headline: Pedestrian safety improvements get green light on Grand; Upgrades planned for busy stretch between Victoria and Hamline
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The City Council approved sidewalk and street safety upgrades for Grand Avenue [which is a surprisingly dangerous street given its mixed-use commercial nature]. Nobody attended a public hearing about the proposed safety improvements. [Is that good or bad? I should have gone, I guess.] They are going to install bumpouts, wider crosswalks, better lights. [There was maybe going to be a median, but this article does not mention it?] Article includes some safety and crash stats. The local neighborhood group would like better enforcement to prevent speeding. Ayd Mill Road will not be improved. [I have some ideas for how to improve that, and they involve a lot of bulldozers.]

Headline: Rathskeller reborn; HPC Oks permit for $8M brewery renovation project
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: A cool old bar / building that is part of the Schmidt Brewery complex will be renovated for use as something. It has lots of cool old details in it. It was the offices for the Ethanol company [very stinky!] until ’04 and then was owned by the neighborhood group. It might be an event space or something. [Article does not say.]

Headline: County Board weighs the pros and cons of Riverview streetcar
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: A streetcar project plan will be voted on soon by the County. Lots of cities and other organizations have already voted to support the plans. [As I have said, there are a lot of crucial details that are still TBD, including alignment, dedicated ROW, downtown ingress route, parking vs. sidewalk priorities, and the intrusiveness of the design viz. walking around. All of those decisions are super important.] Quote from neighbor: we might be spending $2 billion on what could be a fiasco.” Some people like it but others do not. Some people like light rail while others like buses or nothing.

Headline: Highland sidewalks OK’d to create safer ways to schools
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The City Council voted to allocated Federal money for sidewalks by some catholic schools. [That seems like an obvious step to take… har har.] A young girl was hit by a car a few years ago in a place without sidewalks. The money is about $500K. Some trees will be cut down. Quote from neighbor:: “his family has been ‘farming city land’ and will have to move a garden on city ROW.’” [Well that’s quaint.] Another neighbor: “this will affect the quiet enjoyment of our house.” [Because kids walking in places that are not the actual dangerous street is really loud? "I'm not for little kids getting hit by cars, mind you, but the sound of their laughter as they walk really ruins my day."] One neighbor likes it, while another wants to see speeding reduced.

Headline: Outdoor seating sought at historic Waldmann
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: And old brewery restored to 1850s standards wants to have outdoor seating in its yard. It needs a variance. They want to make a hedge because the street is so loud. Historic Preservation folks debated how high the hedge should be, and settled on 3.5 feet. [How high were hedges in the 1850s? What about conforming to 13c. English shrubbery standards?]

Headline: Stadium exempted from noise ordinance
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: [Soccer fans will be allowed to cheer.]

Headline: JCC expansion grows a creative arts wing
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The Jewish Community Center in Highland [where I performed in musical theater productions as a child] will expand.

Headline: Rezoning eyed for Norfolk Avenue lot
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: A senior housing building will likely be allowed to tear down a few homes to build a new surface parking lot.

Headline: Mac buys final parcel on Grand Ave. block [sounds like an episode title of It's Always Sunny...]

Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: Macalester college bought a vacant lot a block west of campus on Grand Avenue. They have not said what they will do with it. The old building that was there was torn down a few years ago.

Headline: Historic designation sought for former West End fire station
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: And old fire station in Randolph Avenue might get converted into a restaurant and/or brewery. The HPC is OK with it so far. The second story would be for banquets. Quote from developer: “really the only thing left is the fire pole.” Neighbors are concerned about parking. [Note that this is the first mention of parking that I’ve seen in this edition of the Villager, a new record for sure.] The fire station is from 1885. The brewery is moving up from Fairbault. [That’s just weird, but I guess it’s cool if Saint Paul collects all the breweries from out-state cities, one by one.]

Headline: Apartments planned for old plant near University-Cleveland; Commission OKs permit allowing first-floor units
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: [OK technically this is outside of Villager territory and falls within the Park Bugle domain. I write for the Park Bugle so this is like a turf war. I’m not gonna re-blog this one and you‘ll have to wait until the Park Bugle comes out in a week or so. They have a website.]

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