Reading the Highland Villager #139

[A Villager at a coffee shop.]
[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. Until this newspaper goes online, sidewalk information must be set free. See also: Three Reasons Why I Re-Blog the Highland Villager.] 

Headline: Debate rises over placing parking meters on Grand; Some say it will promote customer turnover, others predict turmoil [Remarkably reasonable headline!]
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The city wants to put parking meters on the Eastern part of Grand Avenue. [I wrote a column about this for Minnpost.] Article describes plan and pricing. Article states that "many merchants do not like the plan, particularly if the money fed into meters is not spent on improvements to Grand Avenue." Article quotes business owners upset about lack of input. Quote from head of business association: "no on is being forthcoming about this." [Can't argue there.] Article quotes CM Thune: "The notion that people are going to stay away in droves just isn't going to happen." Article cites CM Stark suggesting a change to resident parking permits that would allow employees to buy them. Article quotes business owner: "We're willing to pay our fair share; we're willing to discuss solutions but this is kind of being sprung on us." Article cites restaurant owner who "believes customers will feel rushed." [Actually, the opposite is true. The existing arrangement of 1- and 2-hour spaces is more likely to cause that feeling. These meters will have no time limit.] Article quotes landlord who "predicts an uptick in vacancies." [Again, the existing arrangements are just as frustrating. There's only one small two-block stretch where tenants can park without restriction.] Best quote from business owner: "Meters would also drive businesses away from Grand, sending it back to the dark days of the early 1970s when Grand was lined by many vacant buildings. [All in all, a fair article lacking in histrionics, not at all like what I predicted. There is still a lot of nonsense here, but it's honest nonsense. It could use a quote or two from advocates like Kathy Lantry, if any were willing to stick their head into this hornet's nest.] Neighbors are worried about traffic and parking.

Headline: Rejuvenate to open sober house in Merriam Park
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: Seven men in alcoholism recovery will live in a building.

Headline: Neighbors express concerns over future use of Riverside School
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: A vacant school building might become something else. Neighbors are worried about traffic. Quote from neighborhood group guy: "We're talking about the impact on people and their neighborhood if this is redeveloped in a way that isn't compatible with the surrounding area." [What does "compatible" mean? Like speed dating? Like a phone charger?] The building is currently zoned for "single-family housing."

Headline: MLS impressed by Midway site, but decision is months away
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: A professional soccer stadium might or might not get built at Snelling and 94. Article cites billionaire owner who "would prefer a stadium site that offered space for related development." Parking is mentioned, but just barely.

Headline: Federation may lose sign revenue; City rules current use constitutes illegal ad
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: Anti billboard actistis large billboard and beer bottle sign [See a column I wrote about a similar old brewery billboard.] The neighborhood group gets almost $4K a month in revenue from the sign. Article quotes CM Thune: "I don't think this is the battle to be picked." Article quotes neighborhood group guy: "We've been using the sign for community purposes." Article quotes neighbor: "Leave it alone, it's part of our history." [Shrug.]

Headline: Council hopes stage is finally set for rehab of old Garden Theater
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: A theater on West 7th street might be torn down because it hasn't been rehabbed. Article quotes CM Thune: "We've been waiting for something to happen here for a long, long, long time." The theater dates to 1918, and showed movies until 1959. It seems to be falling down.

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