Reading the Highland Villager #54

[The Villager stops cold winter drafts.]
[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: Riverfront land use plan flows swiftly toward final resolution
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: The master plan for St Paul's riverfront, called "The Great River Passage" [for some reason?], is done and open to comment by the neighborhood groups. Includes quote from neighborhood people who'd like more time to peruse the plan. Includes some details of plan: "nature-based recreation" that include "public-private partnerships", and a development proposal for the [drop dead beautiful] abandoned red brick power plant. [The article uses the word "natural" or "nature" only three times! Remarkable restraint. -Ed.] Includes times/places for public meetings.


Headline: Size matters in early debate over state bonding bill; DFLers argue for a larger bill as way to create jobs and stimulate economy
Reporter: Kevin Driscoll

Short short version: Report on bonding bill debate, w/ quote from [what seems like all of the] St Paul legislators about need for more investment.

Headline: City's first pitch to Legislature: a new downtown ballpark
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: Article on the proposed new Saints stadium in lowertown, emphasizing its inclusion in Governor Dayton’s bonding bill. Includes Saints’ version of the details of proposal: rendering, cost, “jobs” generated, and economic benefits (#10/yr in lowertown). Article also includes other St Paul city council priorities from their recent “legislative agenda”: legislative redistricting that might shrink St Paul’s seats, money for Como park, public television, the Watergate Marina, flood mitigation, and the children’s museum.

 Headline: Ramsey County sets its agenda for new legislative session.
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: Article on the similar agenda only at the county level. Specifics include: lane expansion and new interchanges along 694, money for industrial cleanup.

 Headline: District councils will share the pain of federal block grant cuts
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: Article on how cuts of federal funding for cities will trickle down to the district councils.

 Headline: McDonald’s in Highland to be rebuilt
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: Article on how the McDonald's on W 7th St is going to be razed and the rebuilt. [The new building will be “the exact same size” as the old one, with very similar drive thru and parking lot moat design. –Ed.] Includes details about the Planning Commission’s zoning committee, which wants better landscaping. Includes details such as existence of McDonalds’ USA executive “Roy Crouston”, who helps franchise owners design their buildings. Includes the following quote about Crouston: “He noted that most cities have requiremnts for minimum parking, not maximum.”  Includes drawing of site plan.

 Headline: Local residents seek amendments to plan for Griggs Street bike blvd
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: Article on the public hearing before the city council about the proposed bike boulevard on Griggs Street, which would have small roundabouts to calm traffic to create a bike boulevard. Article focuses on neighbor reactions and quote, people confused about why the boulevard is being built. [People including my dad and step-mom, who live a block from Griggs, and were among the testifiers opposed to the bike boulevard. Yes. Yes, they were. –Ed.] Example of a public comment: “I’m lucky if I see one bike go by each week … I can’t understand why this is being done.” Article includes some explanation from council members CM Stark and Brendmoen about usefulness of bike boulevards, and in the final paragraph, some costs figures including detail about federal funding stream. [NOTE: the proposal passed after they removed only one of the roundabouts, the one on Dayton, because of pressure from CM Carter. The roundabout next to my parents house IS going to be built. They won’t mind. –Ed.]

Headline: Nothing more than window dressing
Reporter: Michael Mischke

Short short version: Editorial about recent new city sign ordinance claiming that it won’t really have any effects because 1) there are so many “special sign districts”, 2) the inspectors won’t enforce the rules because they don’t like or are too busy, and 3) the existing signs are grandfathered in, which has let to an avalanche of signage being placed in windows before the new rules take effect. [Actually, I find myself, for the first time, agreeing with Mr. Mischke. –Ed.]

 Headline: SHA, law firm appeal parking variance for Cupcake on Grand
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: Article on the long long saga of the Cupcake cupcake store and [delicious] bakery [which is trying to open a new store in a old failed clothing boutique on Grand Avenue]. The local district council is pissed about the parking variance [which allowed the bakery NOT to build seven new parking spots off the street]. The board of zoning appeals (BZA) recently granted the bakery a variance.

Headline: Emily Program drops plans to run eating program in old Bush Home
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: Article on the end of an attempt to re-use an old children’s home building for a eating disorder clinic. The Article includes quote from the clinic and the developer about too many restrictions, points to the role of the St Paul planning Commission, which wanted “conditions” on their “non-conforming” use limiting the number of beds and kinds of activites that could occur in the building. Includes quotes from SPPC  folks saying that neighbors should not have to negotiate with a non-conforming [its in an area zoned residential] institution.

Headline: Mpls. To reopen Howe School in 2013; Growign district will spend $45 million to refurbish 3 buildlings
Reporter: Kevin Driscoll

Short short version: Article on the elementary school at 37th Street and 43rd Avenue, which will be remodeled. Includes photo of the school from 1927.

Headline: Discussions continue over plans for Pizza Luce parking
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: Update on the debate over the construction of more parking spaces for the Selby Avenue Pizza Luce, focusing on a recent district council committee meting and public hearing. (There will be another meting Tuesday 1/31 at 6:00 at the western district police station.) The issue is headed to the city council, and involves the setback rules for building parking lots. Article includes a quizzical quote from the local neighborhood group leader, who doesn’t understand why the construction of off-street parking is seen as a bad thing. [It’s like the exact opposite story from the earlier Cupcake article. It seems like you’re parked if you do, and you’re parked if you don’t. It seems like you’re up a dead-end alley without a spot to turnaround. It seems like you’re out of the on-street frying pan, and into the off-street fire. –Ed.]

Headline: Catering company seeks to open in Casa Vieja spot on W. 7th; Renovation plans include offering music, bar and restaurant on main floor
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: A caterer called “complete beverage service” is trying to open a new bar / club in at a spot on West 7th Street [that used to house what I can only assume was a Mexican restaurant?]. The district council is OK with it. The name of the restaurant “has not yet been announced.” [I hope
its a better name than "complete beverage service." -Ed.]

1 comment:

Nathaniel said...

The Cupcakes on Grand parking situation is so beyond me that I don't even know where to start. Who cares? Has anyone told the neighbors they live in an urban area? And 7 parking spots? Come on!