Reading the Highland Villager #27 (November 25 - December 7 Edition)

[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 so that you don't have to. Until this newspaper goes online, sidewalk information must be set free.]

Total # of articles about sidewalks: 13
Total # of articles about sidewalks written by Jane McClure*: 11

Headline: Agreements reached on purchase of old brewery[, pig takes flight. -Ed]
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: Article describing "Dominum Development" signing purchase agreement for key parts of the old Schmidt Brewery, which has lay vacant for many a year along Saint Paul's West 7th Street. Article describes future plans, including "263 new housing units", "mised-use urban village", "40,000 square feet of new and renovated commercial space". Also includes lovely artist's rendering of halcyon future. Quote by Councilmember Thune, long-time project booster: "I'm tickled pink". In theory, construction is 2 years away, and depends on public financing from the St Paul Housing Authority.

Headline: UST to consider alternative sites for tennis courts
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: After [the twice-reported] public outcry over Univeristy of Saint Thomas' plans to build tennis courts near / in a grove of older trees near the River Boulevard, the University is considering alternative sites for tis two tennis courts. New site possibilities will be announced on December 14, and will likely not be on campus as campus is full. Quote from UST's VP for University Relations: "We all kind of got slammed." Article includes semi-capitivating and construction-laden history of "town-gown" relations between the school and the [wealthy and influential] Summit Avenue neighborhood, including some detail about the makeup of the West Summit Neighborhood Advisory Committee (WSNAC), which attempts to bridge the interminable chasm between Tommies and Summit Avenue property owners.

Headline: Senior condos eyed for Bush Children's Center property; residents concerned over future use of Summit Hill site, push for open space
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: Developers want to purchase an old building complex on Grotto Avenue very close to the [even more wealthy and influential] Crocus Hill neighborhood and turn it into three-story "condominiums for older [and undoubtedly well-to-do] adults". People who live near there seem to be upset about "housing density", and would rather see open space on the large site. [i.e., they want there to be nothing whatsoever, some grass that would be rarely used, a real live landscape painting with some trees to look at from afar, out the window of a passing car, in glances from a door ajar... -Ed.] There is mention of the city's desire to earn revenue from property taxes. There is also description of the various bureaucratic hurdles to developing the site, including neighborhood boards and the zoning board, but not including the heritage preservation commission.

Headline: Auto repair shop proposed for vacant Grand-Cleveland corner
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: The "long-vacant" site at the corner of Cleveland and Grand has seen many development proposals, including a Holiday gas station and more than one mixed-use development, both opposed by neighbors. Most recently neighbors opposed a 6-story mixed-use building because it might have been filled with Saint Thomas students. Apparently neighbors are happy with a car repair place [though I have no idea why. Who wants a car repair place next-door? Does Tommie hatred run so deep? Can we fathom its boundless sublime abyss? -Ed.].

Headline: Curling Club will add five sheets at Biff Adams arena
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: The Saint Paul Curling Club [which has long been over-capacity] is adding five sheets of ice in the Biff Adams Arena in the North End neighborhood. Article includes lengthy description of what, exactly, curling is.

Headline: St. Paul fine-tunes proposed changes to sidewalk cafe regulations
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: Recent attempts by the City Council to actually regulate sidewalk cafes in the city are being postponed because of concern for disability (ADA) requirements. The proposal will require a minimum of 48 inches of clearance. Complaints from the public include: concern over requiring sidewalk cafes to close at 10:00 pm [does anyone in Saint Paul stay awake longer than this? -Ed.], [valid] concern over having to get permits from two separate city bureaucratic offices, and the requirement to display sidewalk cafe plans in restaurant windows. Includes quotes from Dan O'Gara and a representative from the [insidious] Blue Plate Restaurant Company.

Headline: HPC urges historic status for 95-year-old Victoria Theater
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: The St Paul Historic Preservation Commissions voted to recommend historic designation for the old, unused theater on University Avenue.

Headline: Additional funding received to construct light-rail line
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: [The latest rivulet in an endless stream of money for the LRT project is:] the Central Corridor received $5.8M from the "Ramsey County Regional Rail Authority and ... the Counties Transit Improvement Board".

Headline: Judge set to rule on lawsuit filed against Central Corridor
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: The judge in the Rondo v. LRT lawsuit will rule sometime in the next two months. The suit argues that the LRT does not comply with environmental impact statements (NEPA) because it doesn't account for impacts on low-income populations and people of color.

Headline: Newfound respect for the living fossils shading our boulevards
Author: James Skakoon

Short short version: Op-Ed essay defending the [oft-maligned and] ubiquitous ginkgo trees that line many of Saint Paul's streets. Includes evolutionary and natural history of the tree, description of its reproduction processes [hot!], history of local anti-female Ginkgo backlash.

Headline: Easy wheelin'; popular Nice Ride program gets ready to roll into St. Paul
Author: Frank Jossi

Short short version: Article detailing the expansion [covered elsewhere] of the NiceRide bike sharing program into Saint Paul, along Grand and Univeristy, and in the [seemingly anti-bike -Ed.] Highland Park neighborhood. St. Paul will get 50-70 new stations. Includes quotes from [my favorite, and apparently pessimistic] local bike advocate Andy Singer: "that they got so many people to use it [the bike sharing program] surprised me."

Headline: Mac plan for renovated arts center includes small campus expansion.
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: Macalester College is redoing its [hideouly ugly] arts building, and will expand a parking lot into some additional property in the nearby neighborhood, including a "vacated east-west alley".

Headline: School district drops plan for parking ban
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: St Paul Public Schools was going to ban parking on weekdays along Colborne Street in the W 7th Neighborhood to allow school buses to line up near the district's headquarters. Neighbors complained -- it "sparked an outcry" -- and now they're not going to do that any more.

* The hardest working woman in local NIMBY journalism.


fasolamatt said...

Hey, Mac-Groveland is just as anti-bicycle as Highland Park. Can't wait until the locals hear about Nice Ride stations going up along the Jefferson Avenue Bicycle Blvd. Call it the Jane McClure full freelance employment program...

Bill Lindeke said...


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