Reading the Highland Villager #176

[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: City to release reworked vision for redeveloping old Ford Plant; Greater details expected on key issues facing site [Hm I wonder what key issues these might be. I’m going to go out on a limb and guess one starts with “t” and one starts with “p.”]
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The city came up with a concept plan for how to develop the old truck factory. [Which by the way polluted the land there.] There was a neighborhood meeting. Article goes over some of the details of the plan, if a bit snidely. For example: “Other park spaces would be scattered around the site … with an larger open are on the east end of the site and ballfields labeled for “private recreation.” [The ballfield thing dates back to the 50s, as you can see in the Villager image above.] Neighbors are concerned about “high density” and there is a petition with 250 signatures. [That isn’t very many.] Neighbors are also concerned about traffic. CM Tolbert is quoted saying “the big potential benefit I see with all of this planning is that it puts a microscope on the entire area.” [But that’s the Villager’s job!]

Headline: Minnesota United to begin work in May on new soccer stadium; Project to get underway with demolition of several Midway Center stores
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: Some people want to build a soccer stadium where a strip mall and parking lot are currently located. Article includes a lot of speculation on which businesses might be torn down etc. [Note: none of this is clear and none of it has happened.] Quote from spokesperson: “Some things will have to wait because there is a building in the way.” [Saint Paul buildings in the way! See also my Minnpost column or today’s story in the Pioneer Press.] A traffic light may be moved from in front of the Spruce Tree Center.

Headline: Developer has designs on St. Clair-Snelling; LeCesse revises its plan for 5½-story mixed-use building on southeast corner
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: [The first sentence sets the tone.] “LeCesse Corporation has returned with a new design for the luxury apartment building that it would like to develop on the southeast corner of Snelling and St. Clair avenues.” [Another way to write this story would be to talk about how a long-standing goal of the city is to create more housing along walkable transit corridors.] A developer wants to build an apartment building with 128 apartments and 199 parking spaces. Neighbors are concerned about the building being too tall. Quote from one resident: “You’ve captured the essence of St. Paul there, but you’ve lost the size and scale of Mac-Groveland.” ["Essence of Saint Paul" is now available at the perfume counter at the downtown Macy's. It smells like sweaty hockey players. ] Another says “If this goes up, we won’t even be able to see the sunset.” [Kind of like the thing that Mr. Burns built to blot out the sun in Springfield?] Another neighbor seemed to like it, saying “If we can build more density, it can improve the property tax base.” [This building reminds me of the Vintage at Snelling and Selby.]

Headline: Deadline looms for trash haulers; City gives 16 businesses til Mar. 21 to draft plan for organized collection
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: Garbage companies are trying to come up with a system to allocate territory in Saint Paul [like they do in just about every sane city in the US]. It sounds complicated. If the garbage companies can’t figure out a system, the city will do it for them.

Headline: Pollution cleanup, containment will precede construction on stadium site
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The land under where the soccer stadium is going to be is polluted and the Port Authority is going to clean it up using city money. They will have to dig up a lot of the dirt. The block used to have stables, a horse track, and a streetcar factory. Article includes long chemical names.

Headline: Mac-Grove favors At Home’s plan for apartment building on Grand
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: A developer wants to tear down three buildings on or near Grand Avenue and put up an apartment building with 26 apartments and 48 parking spaces. [That’s a lot of parking spaces. Why so many? I don't know. The Zoning Committee approved this earlier this week. I asked the developers this at the meeting. They were like ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Whatever it's their money.] Neighbors are concerned about aesthetics. There might be a bumpout added here to make it easier to cross Grand Avenue. [Sorely needed! If this bumpout doesn’t happen it will be a crying shame.]

Headline: Riverview transit study results released in public meetings
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: There was a meeting where consultants passed out some analysis of ridership and costs for transit options along West 7th Street which may or may not go to the Ford site as well. [See my article on this for streets.mn.]

Headline: District requests more proposals for redeveloping Riverside School
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The school district wants to sell an old building. Some people would like mixed-use apartments there. [I am sensing a pattern.] A neighborhood group is concerned about traffic, loss of open space, and traffic safety.

Headline: Expect big rise in small cell towers
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: Some cell phone companies are using smaller “towers” now, about 30’ tall.

Headline: City plans $757,000 upgrade of I-35E biek trail to downtown
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: An old [weird] bike path along the freeway is going to be improved  with better lighting and new asphalt and fencing, using Capital Improvement Budget (CIB) money. Bushes will be trimmed, especially ones that “vagrants” sometimes camp in. Some plants will likely be damaged.

Headline: City reimburses downtown nonprofits for right-of-way fees; decision on the future of right-of-way maintenance fee is at least a week away
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The city’s long-standing program of paying for streets by having non-profits pay a fee is now in court. Some churches and MPR [MPR, really? Sue the city and the light rail much? How many MPR members live in Saint Paul anyway? Maybe they can just send their money in special envelopes that can be earmarked for city street maintenance instead of radio programming?] sued and they’re getting their money back. [Just in time for pledge drive.] The City Council is going to try and figure out what to do. CM Stark says “he is not holding his breath” on legislation that might help Saint Paul.

Headline: Public invited to check out the tools at St. Paul’s newest library
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: There’s a tool library now where you can check out tools. It’s in the Can Can Wonderland building.

No comments: