Reading the Highland Villager #51

[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: 15
Total # of articles about sidewalks written by Jane McClure: 13  

Headline: Property tax bills see double-digit increases despite lower home value
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: Report on the increase in tax levys for St Paul.

Headline: City golf courses are no longer hitting the green; St Paul’s municipal links are likely to record 10th straight year of losses
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: Article on how city owned golf courses lose money each year, and have been doing so for a decade now. Some context about how this is a problem for city owned golf courses all thought e state because of a decline in golf’s popularity. Article mentions bad economy, and how people are busier, as reasons for the decline in golf’s popularity with the proletariat. Also a mention of the possibility of Minneapolis closing the Fort Snelling course. The city has requested $100K for a study of what to do with their golf courses.

Headline: Golf course groundskeepers struggled with a full year of challenging weather
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: It rained a lot during the last year. Then it was dry.

Headline: Host of city fee increases add $73.75 to typical homeowners’ annual costs
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: In addition to a higher property tax levy, there has been an increase in fees such as “right of way maintenance” and “water charges.”

Headline: Irritation of airport noise spreads eastward over South Minneapolis
Reporter: Kevin Driscoll

Short short version: More airplanes have been heard near South Minneapolis because of flight path changes after a near collision in fall 2010. Runway 30R is the culprit. There will be meetings to talk about the problem.

Headline: Wellington drops appeal of condition on Bush Home site
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: Report on efforts to construct an eating disorder clinic near the Crocus Hill area of St Paul. The developer appealed a Planning Commission (SPPC) restriction on the uses of the property, then withdrew it because it wasn’t as restrictive as they originally thought. The SPPC granted permits for extra street parking spaces, some non-conforming uses for institutional purposes. The developer was concerned because the use permits were so restrictive. Article also mentions vague resident concerns.

Headline: One lawsuit settled, another pending for light-rail project; While MPR’s challenge is dismissed, NAACP and coplaintiffs are still awaiting federal ruling
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: Report on the dismissal last month of the lawsuit against the light rail project (i.e. Met Council) by MPR (i.e. Minnesota Public Radio) over noise and vibration mitigation. Plus, report on the pending situation with the NAACP & Rondo community lawsuit which is basically about gentrification along the street. Details history of the second lawsuit, how a judge ordered further study of economic impacts last year. Article includes reference: “MPR officials expressed disappointment.” [I am trying not to revel in my schadenfreude. –Ed.]

Headline: University Avenue is mostly returned to four lanes of traffic
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: University Avenue is mostly returned to four lanes of traffic west of Hamline. Sort of, mostly.

Headline: Turning the corner: Conley creates hip commercial strip at Selby-Snelling avenues
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: Article on the owner of the building that houses [the tschotchke shop that I won't set foot in] Patina on the Northwest corner of Snelling and Selby Avenues. The property owner is named Ed Conley. Quote about how the alleys contain a “spash of pizzaz.” [Little known fact: Har Mar Superstar once “lived” in the apartment in that building. –Ed.] Article includes history of the “Legacy Rose” building, including the fact that it once contained a movie theater. Conley received a St Paul Heritage Preservation Award for his makeover of the building. [Now if only they could figure out a way to make Snelling Avenue into a liveable street. Imagine what these kinds of old historic buildings would be like if traffic moved at a reasonable speed, if you could cross the street without feeling like you were taking your life into your hands, if the sidewalks were more than five feet wide… -Ed.]

Headline: BZA hears Cupcake’s request for Grand parking variance
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: The Cupcake cafĂ©’s attempt to open a new Grand Avenue location requires a parking variance for seven off-street spaces, and the Board of Zoning Appeals is scheduled to consider giving them this month [two days ago]. Neither the city nor the local neighborhood group like this idea. [What happened? –Ed.]

Headline: St Thomas’ request for liquor license gets another hearing
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: In part of a long, ongoing saga and negotiation between the University and the neighborhood, the St Paul City Council “legislative hearing officer” heard a request [a week ago] for the liquor license from the University. [What happened? –Ed.]

Headline: HUD awards $7.3 million for Episcopal Homes’ expansion
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: The old folks home where Porky’s used to be got a grant from the Feds to build 50 more units along University Avenue.

Headline: HPC approves 2nd of 3 permits for Schmidt Brewery renovation
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: The re-use and development of the Schmidt Brewery site is getting the OK from the Heritage Preservation Commission so far. The most recent vote was unanimous. There are still some details to be finalized, including “the placement of new windows on some building facades, new entrances, a loading dock area, and an addition.” Article includes brief history of the brewery complex.

Headline: BZA allows McGovern’s to enclose patio without additional parking
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: The Irish pub on West 7th Street can “erect a seasonal patio enclosure” without building a bunch of new off-street parking spaces. [Again, we see the problematic way that minimum parking requirements pose problems for businesses. Paging Donald Shoup. –Ed.]

Headline: New GABA director is no stranger to shopping on avenue
Reporter: Bob Gilbert

Short short version: Glowing hagiographic article on the new director of the Grand Avenue Business Association, Sue Evens. Article includes details about her cat’s vet, the website relaunch, and her recent wedding.


Kai said...

the weirdest thing about patina is how their products are all color coded. patina is the place to go if one day you decide you need a kitschy book/plastic unusable toy/clock: simply decide which color your kitsch embodies (green - plants, blue - fishing, brown - well, etc.)

Nathaniel said...

"BZA hears Cupcake’s request for Grand parking variance" - [wish I had an update on this!]

It is insane! Cupcake fits perfectly on Grand Ave - but because they want to serve someone a bottle of Peroni with their panini and $3.50 cupcake, they'll need an extra 7 parking spaces?

It's time St. Paul throws out their out-of-date parking restrictions and steps foot into the 21st Century.