Reading the Highland Villager #53

[The Highland Villager is impervious to cold.]
[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: 10

Headline: St. Paul goes to the extremes for Crashed Ice; Three-day competition is expected to attract tens of thousands to the city
Reporter: Frank Jossi

Short short version: Report on the aforementioned spectacle.

Headline: City to develop $62 million Penfield on its own; With the demand for high-end apartments, the risk of failure is low, supporters say
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: Report on the City Council passing a financing package [i.e. borrowing lots of money, including some from a HUD loan] to built a six-story condo building, Lund's supermarket, and 328 underground parking spaces at the site of the long dormant Penfield development. [That's a lot of parking spaces, isn't it? I wonder what percentage of the $62M is devoted to parking spaces? I wonder if they really need ALL of them? -Ed.] Article includes glowing quote from the Mayor, including the words "cathartic" and "cornerstone." [Actually, the quote consists ONLY of the words "cathartic" and "cornerstone." Is Jane getting lazy? -Ed.] Article includes some debate over whether or not St Paul should be developing property without private developer involvement. [See streets.mn for more on this question.] CMs Lantry, Stark, and Carter voted against the project for precisely this reason, citing too much risk. Article includes [fishy] detail  that part of the financing came from raiding a streetscape improvement fund for University Avenue.

Headline: Despite his relative youth, Tolbert appears well-suited for City Council
Reporter: Kevin Driscoll

Short short version: Article on newly elected Ward 3 [Highland Park] CM Chris Tolbert, emphasizing his youth. He's 28. [OK, that's young. Even younger than CM Carter, who is my age! -Ed.] Article also emphasizes his humor, smile, humility, girlfriend, status as a sports fan, and experience in the legal professions.

Headline: City adopts new limits on window signs; Council passes new regs over objections of business, city staff
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: The city is now limiting signs displayed in windows to "no more than 30% of the total window area" and requiring a permit for "electronic or dynamic" signage over six square feet. Article includes debate over whether or not regulations are "onerous." CMs Harris and Bostrom voted against.

Headline: House of Hope to keep garden fence
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: Update on the [heated!] debate mentioned previously about the use of a [non-über-fancy] wood fence for the garden in front of the House of Hope church on [über-fancy] Summit Avenue. The fence will be modified in accordance with "Historic Hill District guidelines," using a STAR grant. "Plans call for ... adding scalloped metal." [Ahh, scalloped metal, the balm for all wounds, the cure for all seasons... As they say, good fences make good neighbors, and scalloped metal makes good fences. -Ed.]

Headline: Cupcake gets variance to open on Grand
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: Update on the [frosted!] debate mentioned previously about the [delicious and bougie] bakery/coffee shop Cupcake's attempt to open a location on Grand Avenue [in what used to be a clothes boutique.] The debate had been over wehther or not the bakery would receive a variance for the minimum off-street parkign requirements, which would have required them to construct seven new parking spaces. [Very expensive, that. Prohibitive, you might say. -Ed.] Article includes details about the debate in the Board of Zoning Appeals meeting; some wanted a requirement to lease parking spaces, and the neighborhood association was opposed. The bakery will have lots of bike racks, a wine and beer license. [Score! -Ed.]

Headline: Neighbors appeal plans for additional Pizza Luce parking lot
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: Article on a recent plan to build an 11-space parking lot on Selby Avenue, across the street from the St Paul Pizza Luce. The "small commercial building" that was previously there was demolished last month. Neighbors, including key members of Union Park District Council, are upset. Article includes detail about a "pet dog" being killed by someone using the current Luce Parking lot. Article also includes some history over other attempts by the pizzeria to build parking lots.  [Well, this debate raises lots of sticky issues! -Ed.]

Headline: HRA approves grand, development agreement for brewery
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: The City Council approved a $1.5M block grant for the Schmidt brewery development.

Headline: Winter Carnival parade to travel down West 7th Street
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: From Smith Avenue to downtown, 2:00pm on Saturday January 28th.

Headline: BZA grants variance for two new signs at the Lexington
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: Despite strict regulations, the planned 36" tall letter 'L's on the new Lexington [steak] restaurant signs will be allowed to exist.

Headline: Snelling-Hamline company is told to clean up others' trash
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: Someone is illegally dumping trash outside a construction business on Dayton Avenue, but they have to clean it up anyway because the city isn't going to.
Headline: Business is booming for the Village-based Blooms
Reporter: Frank Jossi

Short short version: A father and son are making a go if it selling commercial real estate, bringing you such establishments as Panera Bread, Five Guys, and Roundy's.

Headline: Clause in lease may step on toes of Dancers Studio permit request
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: A dance studio in the strip mall by Cub Foods wants to start a "dance hall" for "events" with "tickets."  The landlord doesn't like it.

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