Reading the Highland Villager #85

[The Villager can't drink on the patio.]
[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.]  

Headline: New charter school will give nine vacant Fort Snelling bldgs. a $30 million facelift
Reporter: Kevin Driscoll

Short short version: The vacant historic buildings near Fort Snelling will become a school called the Upper Mississippi Academy, focusing on an environmental curriculum.

Headline: Historic Lex is sold, will close for summer
Reporter: Frank Jossi
Short short version: The [wood paneled, windowless, former Norm Coleman hangout] Lexington Restaurant on Lexington was sold [again]. [See previouspatio debate.] Article mentions “old world charm.” [This is where I went to dinner on my prom night.] The restaurant opened in 1935, converted from a previously existing pub on that corner.

Headline: CIB Committee’s top picks include Station 19 expansion
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: The Capital Improvement Budget committee released its rankings [Moses-like, commanding]. At the top were a fire expansion renovation, reconstructions of bridges on Kellogg downtown, fixing rec centers and parks. Article includes discussion about the removal of pedestrian and crosswalk improvements along the [bowtie-shaped corners of] West 7th Street.

Headline: Commission supports zoning changes for west Grand; New apartment building height limited to 45 feet
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: The Planning Commission approved a city plan to change the zoning along a stretch of Grand Avenue near St Thomas, lowering height limits but expanding lot size by reducing building setbacks. The changes also expand the “minimum apartment uit size” to discourage four-bedroom apartment units. [Clearly trying to reduce “dorm-like” housing for college students. Also, I am still waiting to see myself quoted in the Villager. Hasn't happened yet.]

Headline: Wild Wings’ liquor license held up by parking lot concerns
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: The sports bar proposed for Snelling Avenue is having trouble getting its liquor license because MN-DOT is worried about consolidating the entrances and exists of the existing parking lot onto Snelling Avenue. MN-DOT wants to keep the Ashland (non-Snelling) access, but the neighbors and city want to keep traffic to and from Snelling. [This seems to be the main issue. Curb cuts are, of course, bad for walkability. I’m not sure MN-DOT knows the kind of venomous snake they are dealing with here, viz. the neighborhood. God forbid anything happen to slow down traffic on Snelling Avenue.]

Headline: City allows Qdoba to build smaller restaurant with additional parking
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: The City Council overturned an earlier Board of Zoning Appeals decision about whether or not a proposed burrito place along Ford Parkway can remain smaller than is currently allowed. The smaller building will be built. [Burritos will remain the same size.] Article include quote from neighboring property owner: “[Zoning changes were ] done as part of a long term strategy to make Highland Village [sic] more accommodating to pedestrians and bicyclists and to promote denser developments and public transit use. Then when Qdoba, the first project to come forward under the new zoning is proposed, ‘They want to go back to the old way.’”

Headline: More funds obtained for office, mini-golf plans at brewery
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: The planned artsy mini-golf course for the Schmidt Brewery redevelopment project got some money from a national arts foundation.

Headline: Residents find favor with plans for developing Victoria Park; Dedicated soccer fields are not part of the mix
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: Once the planners dropped the soccer fields from the plans for the park at the old industrial fuel tank site in the new neighborhood between West 7th and the river, everybody seems happy. [Boo soccer fields filled with people! Yay little-used green grass!]

Headline: St. Paul OKs $798,000 in STAR funding for cultural projects
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: St Paul is giving money to people for festivals, outdoor pianos, theaters.

Headline: Lowertown street assessment case sent back to lower court
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: Downtown churches and other non-office building properties are suing the city over street assessments. It’s taking a long time.

Headline: Hazelden’s longtime plans for West End expansion continue
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: Hazelden [the up-scale addiction treatment center] is building a new clinic complex along West 7th. [Imagine the uproar if instead it was an addiction center aimed at poor people.]

Headline: Ballpark petitioners make last pitch for reusing Gillette bldg. [Pun!]

Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: The [crazy] people who want to save the [ugly, windowless, 3-story] industrial building in lowertown and [magically] transform it into a baseball field [with lots of parking, of course] are still at it. [Soon the wrecking ball will put an end to this conversation like a good period.]

1 comment:

Mike Hicks said...

So is the Qdoba site just as bad as it would have been under the old zoning code, or did they make any concessions to the newer zoning? (What is it there anyway? TN?)