Reading the Highland Villager #141

[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: St. Paul nets Major League Soccer team with Midway stadium site
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: A soccer stadium will be built at Snelling and I-94 for the local soccer team, which will be upgraded to MLS status. Article includes quotes from the press conference. The stadium will cost $120 of private dollars. [And an open question about the public side of the ledger, depending on a lot of things like parking, roads, etc.] The Port Authority is involved [for some reason]. It requires legislative approval for the tax abatement and Federal Transit Administration approval for the land deal. The lease length is undetermined. There might be soil pollution. There will be an advisory committee of members of the public. The shopping center may be redeveloped. [We can only hope, though the underground bowling alley is kind of special to me, if problematic for its own reasons.]

Headline: Mac-Grove releases report on organized trash collection: Study indicates residents would be open to system under certain conditions
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The Mac-Grove neighborhood group did a study about [the destructive practice of] non-organized trash collection in Saint Paul. They got a grant. There are laws and precedents for the city to organize trash hauling, which would, according to supporters, reduce costs and have fewer trucks in alleys. Others disagree citing the way that small businesses get "muscled out" by big or national companies. [Well, garbage collection is a famously mob-run activity, it's true.] CM Stark is a fan of the idea of organized trash collection. Article includes quotes. There was a survey about how people like saving money. There are 19 trash companies in the city. Article includes quote from a small one about how it would kill his business. Saint Paul used to have city-run trash collection 40 years ago. [I did not know that. Thanks Highland Villager! I've always been dumbfounded by the fact that Saint Paul cannot have organized trash collection. My #1 reason why it's a good idea has to do with street maintenance. Each garbage trucks weighs a crapload, and if you multiply all the extra trips by all the extra weight and do the math about how many more potholes and pavement destruction occur, I'd bet it's a pretty large number.] A CM in the late 90s tried to organize trash collection but the trash men stopped him.

Headline: Parking meter debate revs up on Grand; Anti-meter sentiments resound at packed meeting with mayor
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: [There was a meeting. I transcribed the first half of it. Either there is a "parking problem" on Grand Avenue or there isn't. Apparently there isn't. Which is one reason why I'm expecting to hear no complaints about parking on Grand Avenue for the next decade. It's great, easy to park, and go ahead and build infill apartments or open new businesses because it's all just fine as it is. No parking complaints. Phew, what a relief!]

Headline:  St. Paul extends downtown meters along W. Seventh St.; Other meters, longer hours, higher rates during events also go in place this January
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The city is finally going to extend enforcement and raise rates for on-street parking downtown, especially during events. They are also expanding the meters into the very congested area along West 7th Street by the Xcel Center. [You know, by Cossetta's. This is about as much news coverage as parking meters should be worth, because they're not a big deal at all, simply a solution for how to make on-street parking as useful and efficient for businesses and residents as possible. Getting upset about parking meters is like getting upset about a thermostat. They're both very simple devices that provide feedback.]

Headline: Veteran pols of St. Paul STRONG seek return to the city's tradition of citizen participation
Author: Kevin Driscoll

Short short version: [Old people that used to be making decisions in the back room, but aren't any more, are now upset about the existence of back rooms. They have an acronymn. There is a list of "grievances" that is straight out of the Costanza family home at Festivus: some fair points, but mostly seem to be upset about parking and traffic. Also really dislike the mayor and stadia.]

Headline: Liquor licenses, TIF aid sought for Schmidt site
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The tax-increment financing district at the old industrial site where Victoria Park is along West 7th will now be used for the Schmidt Brewery nearby. [Especially the rathskellar, I hope, which has just been sitting there but has a lot of potential to be a bona fide public place.] The city would also like to expand liquor licenses, because there's an [archaic, weird] system that limits licenses by Ward.

Headline: City considering lifting limits on restaurant liquor licenses
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The City is reviewing an amendment to the charter that would exempt restaurants from the existing limits on liquor licenses, [allocated by ward]. Ward 3 [home of the Highland Villager] has the fewest.

Headline: Dispute over public sidewalk painting is laid over 'til spring
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The owner of a magic shop / headshop painted cute footprints on the sidewalk in front of his store but the city is charging him with vandalism. Owner says its street art. [What do I think? Um, I guess I'll have to check it out. Why not use chalk?] Someone once demanded a City art sidewalk poem  be removed from in front of their house. [I want to know where!]

Headline: City adopts new sanctions for owners of abandoned pools
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: If you abandon a swimming pool and it fills with garbage and kids fall into it, you can be cited. [Asking for a friend.]

Headline: Trees felled, bluff graded as Victoria Park is landscaped
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The city is making a big park on the site of the old oil storage facility along the river bluff. It involves cutting down trees. "I was flabbergasted," says one neighbor. There will be something called a "moist soil cell" which is like a wetland-related thing. [Could be where Ramsey County keeps their inmates now that the old jail is being demo'd.]

Headline: StuartCo is building 53 studio apartments off West 7th Street
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: An apartment building is going up in a vacant lot in Highland Park. There's a lot of demand for studios, which apparently appeal to young people. [Article fails to mention traffic or parking.]

Headline: Clear skies ahead; Bad Weather Brewing brings spirit of seasons to West 7th
Author: Loren Green

Short short version: A new brewery has opened up at the base of the high bridge. "Parking has been a bone of contention." Apparently rules will be enforced by "police" who will issue something called "tickets." [Saint Paul is breaking new ground!] Best quote from the brewer: "We're not super into weather puns."

Headline: Icon of Ramsey Hill hospitality is reborn; After 30 years, Rupp reopens a restored Commodore restaurant
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The Commodore [where Baudrillard once drank in Minneapolis] is open again. [I've already been. Very nice, and apps are affordable.] There are two articles on it, with tons of history details.

Headline: BZA grants variances for new Grand condo
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: An apartment building that was denied approval by the Planning Commission because of concerns about size, traffic, and parking [even though its almost exactly the same size as the two older buildings on either side, and has off-street parking, unlike its historic neighbors] might be approved after all thanks to a vote by the Board of Zoning Appeals.


Jim Buscher said...

Kinda amusing to see Stuart Co developing a new apartment building. They "vowed" not to develop ever again in St Paul when the HRA built the Penfield.

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