Reading the Highland Villager #60

[A stack of Villagers sit on a stoop.]
[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: 17
Total # of articles about sidewalks written by Jane McClure: 16

Headline: Proposed limits on off-campus student rental housing draws mixed response [Note: this is a toned down version of last fortnight’s headline on this same issue]
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: Basic rehash of last fortnight’s article on the proposed student ordinance, again leading with Commissioner Oliver’s quotes critical of the ordinance. Article lists concerns about the ordinance: pushing students into adjacent neighborhoods, ‘grandfathering in’ student homes, singling out the St Thomas neighborhood. Article describes ordinance (150 foot buffer on new student houses). Article includes history of neighborhood groups weighing in: West Summit Neighborhood was for the ordinance, but the Land Use Committee of the Union Park group was against it. Second half of [long long] article basically discusses debate over zoning v. enforcement, using quotes. Article lists upcoming meetings, deadlines, etc. [I’m not even going to talk about this right now. –Ed.]

Headline: Historic steps crumble under weight of repair bill; dispute threatens 111-year partnership between the city and adjacent property owner
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: [Really interesting] article on a dispute between the city and the property owner of a summit avenue and some summit avenue property owners about who is responsible for the maintenance costs for a set of stairs that run near the JJ Hill house down the bluff. article includes detailed history of the steps, that run back to JJ Hill’s son “Louis J. Hill.” Also includes a reference to bureaucracy: “complicating the matter is the number of city departments involved:” Department of Safety and Inspections, Heritage Preservation Commission, and the Department of Public Works. Article includes references to various lawyers, photos of the steps. [They look nice, BTW, until you see the “hole” in the brick wall leading into the JJ Hill house. -Ed.]

Headline: Forum set on St Paul’s industrial zoning
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: St Paul is changing its zoning code for industrial zoning within the city. the city is trying to “streamline” the codes to “protect and enhance industrial areas.” There will be public hearing at the planning commission on June 1st. article references the fact that “conflicts between industrial land uses and adjacent commercial or residential uses are nothing new in St Paul.”

Headline: Victoria, Western light-rail stations may get a second name
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: When the LRT is complete, the ‘station name’ at two of the stops at Victoria and Western may include a slash (“/”) and another word, but only if the neighborhood groups in the areas can agree on what the word should be. Article includes use of the word “moniker.” [This will change everything! -Ed.]

Headline: City celebrates reopening of Jimmy Lee fields
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: The rec center ballfields [looks like football] at Oxford and Concordia are open again.

Headline: Pizza Luce parking dispute is settled though not to the satisfaction of all [Best headline?]
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: The city council voted to deny the neighborhood appeal of the zoning commission’s decisions to approve the across-the-street parking lot for the St Paul Pizza Luce. [However, people are still upset about the state of the world today. –Ed.]

Headline: Historic duplex’s rezoning recommended
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: A “dilapidated duplex” in Irvine Park will be re-zoned to TND zoning. The duplex is called the “McCloud–Edgerton House,” and was built in 1867.

Headline: Union Park supports riverfront plan with added Meeker Island dog park
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: Self explanatory.

Headline: Water quality project begins at Fort Snelling State Park
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: Someone is going to try to reduce the “overflow” of storm water in Snelling Lake.

Headline: Hearing set on proposed Grand-Finn apartment building
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: A developer is going to try to build an apartment building on Grand Avenue. [Primarily to house St Thomas students!!!!!!!!! –Ed.]

Headline: Jefferson Avenue Bikeway rolls on toward completion [I'm disappointed that this is the only pun in the issue.]

Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: TLC approved the [somewhat half-assed, perhaps 2/3 assed...] city approval of the Jefferson Avenue bikeway. [For more information see the approximately 1,000,002 other articles on this topic available on this website. -Ed.]

Headline: Lowertown plan suggests arts center if ballpark project fails
 Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: Some people [who like art] would like to see a “community arts center” built under the highway 52 bridge if the state doesn’t’ pony up for a Saints’ stadium. [Yeah, I’m sure 5,000 people per day will come to a community arts center, flooding the city with much needed pedestrian density… -Ed.]

Headline: Action delayed on variance for Summit hill garden shed
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: “Rawley Brodeen"’s summit hill “garden shed” will be given “more time to work out” before it gets approved or not.

Headline: Cupcake’s wine and beer license will have a hearing
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: The long [long and also labyrinthine] quest to get approval for the new Cupcake bakery will continue during the Board of Zoning Appeals meeting about the liquor license. There is no hearing date as of yet.

Headline: Cossetta’s seeks variance for stormwater drainage system
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: The guy who owns Cossetta’s [some guy named “Cossetta”] wants a variance for handling stormwater runoff because of “conditions unique to the site … and high cost.”

Headline: Right at home in Ramsey Hill: Commodore’s early ambiance still lingers over 90 years later

Reporter: Lisa Heinrich

Short short version: Awesome report on the bar at old Commodore [the old-school Summit Avenue establishment to which has long long been one of my fantasies to frequent]. Pertinent phrases include: “gallant old building”, Elegant nightspots for dancing,” Russian Born Werner Wittkamp, who after immigrating to the United States designed stage sets for the Ziegfeld Follies,” Played a role in St Paul’s gangster era,” “Two huge gas explosions,” “like the sinking of the Titanic,” “his signature Ralph’s Surprises,” “remained standing only because it had been built of reinforced concrete and was fireproof.”

Headline: St Paul opens pair of solar-powered car-charging stations
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: self-explanatory. [This too will change everything. –Ed.]


Reuben Collins said...

I kind of wish I could read that article about the stairs. Maybe a new feature on these posts would be to simply take a photograph of the newspaper. Then people will actually be able to read the articles! is that a copyright problem?

Reuben Collins said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bill Lindeke said...

i'm already on thin ice with Jane McClure as it is! you should go to St Paul if you want one.

Nathaniel said...

Reuben - I've got two copies and will bring it to the next Streets.MN get-together.

The stairs article is good and brings up lots of good urban planning issues. I think the property owners would be more willing to share the cost if the total price tag wasn't so high. I can imagine that, even for someone who owns a historic mansion on Summit Ave, a $200,000 to $1.2m repair bill for a retaining wall, no matter how historic it may be, is too expensive.