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Archive | January, 2014

JanFeat1_14HamlineBook

‘The Times, they are a changin’ for Hamline’s new bookstore

Posted on 15 January 2014 by robwas66

Melanie Farley, general manager of the Hamline University Bookstore since August 2012, learned at one of her interviews for the job that the bookstore, which had been housed in the Bush Center on the Hamline campus, was going to be moving to the former site of the Purple Onion at 722 Snelling. (Photo by Jan Willms)

Melanie Farley, general manager of the Hamline University Bookstore since August 2012, learned at one of her interviews for the job that the bookstore, which had been housed in the Bush Center on the Hamline campus, was going to be moving to the former site of the Purple Onion at 722 Snelling. (Photo by Jan Willms)


By JAN WILLMS

For Hamline’s new bookstore, to say that Dylan once slept there would not be an exaggeration.

When Minnesota icon Bob Dylan wrote his 2004 autobiography Chronicles: Vol. 1, he mentions towards the end of the book playing guitar at the Purple Onion pizza parlor in St. Paul, and later notes that he slept there in a back room before heading out one day in the early 1960s for New York City.

Melanie Farley, general manager of the Hamline University Bookstore since August 2012, learned at one of her interviews for the job that the bookstore, which had been housed in the Bush Center on the Hamline campus, was going to be moving to the former site of the Purple Onion at 722 Snelling.

“I heard about it as I was touring the building during my interview,” she said. Farley said that while the building was being refurbished, the big horseshoe bar was still there and on the old wood flooring underneath, the round bottom marks of the bar stools were still visible.

“That made it more real and solidified it,” she said.

For Farley, who prior to Hamline managed the bookstore at the University of Wisconsin in Fon du Lac, this information tickled her musical sensibilities.

A musician herself, she plays bass guitar, tinkers with keyboards and played saxophone in high school. And she is thoroughly immersed in musical history. After hearing about Dylan’s playing at the Purple Onion, she read Chronicles and found his references to the location.

According to an article written by Harold Lepidus on examiner.com, Purple Onion owner Bill Danielson said the young Dylan would often be paid in pizza. “My sisters and I used to play hide and seek with Bob Dylan at my dad’s pizza place,” says Sheryl McGuire, eldest of Danielson’s three daughters. “My dad would say, ‘He sang for his supper.’ ”

“The bookstore moved to this location July 8,” Farley said. “The store moved as part of a Hamline University 10-year plan, and we are happy to now be more visible in the community.” The store is on the very corner of the campus.

Once the store was fully moved, a plan for a book club based on the history of the new location surfaced.

“We surveyed students about starting a book club, and we had our first meeting in October 2013,” Farley said.

The Purple Onion Book Club, which meets the first Monday of the month at 6:15pm at Gingko coffee house right across the street, kicked off with participants reading either Chronicles or Tarantula, a collection of existentialist poetry by Dylan written between 1965 and 1966.

“The writing in Chronicles was so amazing,” Farley said. “It read more like a story than an autobiography.”

Dylan, who plans to write three volumes describing his life experiences, won the National Critics Circle award for Chronicles: Vol. 1. Whether he is describing growing up on the Iron Range, or his admiration for Woodie Guthrie or the snow-covered streets of New York, Dylan exhibits the same heartfelt writing in his book as he puts into his lyrics.

At one of their first discussions of the book club, Farley explained, they had a local historian present who was interested in the history of the building.

The book club is focusing on local authors and Hamline authors. Occasionally, a writer whose work is being discussed will be in attendance.

The Purple Onion book club is open to students, faculty, local historians and community members. The group has been on hiatus over the holidays, but will start meeting again the first Monday in March.

She said she has not had much time yet on planning the next meeting, but she is thinking the group will read a book by local author William Krueger.

“There’s not enough work out there for us just to read Dylan,” she said with a smile.

She said the club is loosely organized with participant-led discussions. “It’s an organic process as we discuss a book,” Farley said.

“So far it has been a lot of fun,” she continued. She said the book club has been unanimous in its praise for Dylan’s poetics and his literary voice.

“His literary voice is so outstanding, and his commentary has made him an icon,” Farley said.

“He is an amazing songwriter,” she added. “But there are mixed reviews on the quality of his singing voice.”

She said the book club has been kind of hoping it could connect with Dylan’s PR people, but so far has just run into road blocks. But she is optimistic.

“We will meet in March, April and May,” Farley explained. “Whether we meet through the summer will depend on the community response, since there may not be that many students around at that time.”

Currently about six students and a couple community members participate.

“Our hope is to definitely strengthen the bond between campus and community with the club,” she stated.

Farley said she would like to continue to get the word out about the Purple Onion Book Club and that it is open to anyone to attend, and the Hamline University Bookstore offers an option for anyone to buy, sell or read local works in general.

“We are looking forward to adding local authors to our collection,” she claimed. “If anyone out there is a locally published author, get in touch with me to see if we are interested in buying copies of your books.”

And meanwhile, if you are browsing through the bookstore, take time to listen. There may be faint echoes of the songs that Dylan wrote at the beginning of his career, as he played at the Purple Onion pizza parlor.

 

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JanFeat1_14VintageSite

The Vintage site plan approved for Selby-Snelling

Posted on 15 January 2014 by robwas66

The Vintage on Selby, Ryan Companies’ mixed use development at Selby and Snelling, will bring 208 dwelling units, a Whole Foods store and a new bank to the area. The project won St. Paul Planning Commission approval in December.

The Vintage on Selby, Ryan Companies’ mixed use development at Selby and Snelling, will bring 208 dwelling units, a Whole Foods store and a new bank to the area. The project won St. Paul Planning Commission approval in December.


By JANE MCCLURE

The Vintage on Selby, Ryan Companies’ mixed use development at Selby and Snelling, will bring 208 dwelling units, a Whole Foods store and a new bank to the area. The project won St. Paul Planning Commission approval in December. The vote is a key win for a project that has been on the drawing board for more than a year. Ryan Companies Senior Vice president Tony Barrranco said there have been many changes to the project to accommodate neighborhood concerns including adding more off-street parking and bike facilities. “I think we have a better project because of all of the input,” he said.

Much work needs to be done before all of the changes are seen. In fact, development will unfold over the next few years. Buildings on Snelling north of Dayton will be the first to come down, to make way for a new bank building. Once the bank moves into a new facility, the historic bank building at Selby and Snelling can come down.

Supporters said the project will bring the denser, mixed use development the city is seeking along its transit corridors. “This project brings multiple new private investments to our community and will create needed jobs and amenities,” the Midway Chamber of Commerce said in its letter of support.

Barranco said the Vintage on Selby is the type of mixed use, dense development the city is seeking on transit corridors. It is designed in a stepped-back way to complement heights of adjacent buildings and will fit in well with the area, he said.

But opponents fear more traffic and parking problems in an already congested area. “This development is being shoehorned into the neighborhood,” said Snelling-Hamline resident Mike Andert.

The advocacy group Neighborhoods First! argues that the project doesn’t do enough to address transit-oriented development. That group and several neighbors are worried about increased traffic and parking demand, as well as potentially negative environmental impacts.

The 3.72 acre development site is currently occupied by the Associated Bank building, a large surface parking lot and homes. It consists of much of the block bounded by Selby, Snelling and Dayton avenues and Saratoga Street. The mixed-use development (The Vintage) will be owned by Ryan. The bank will own its own building, which be at a new location at 202 N. Snelling Ave. A site plan for the new bank was approved this fall.

The five-story development will include a 39,000 square foot Whole Foods fronting on Snelling Ave., four townhouses on Selby and 208 apartments. There will be 149 efficiency and one-bedroom apartments, and 59 larger units. The apartments will be in two stepped-back, u-shaped areas of the building. Apartments will have access to a swimming pool, rooftop patios and shared fitness and community room spaces. Some units will have rooftop garden spaces.

The building will contain all of its own parking. Parking numbers have fluctuated over the past year of planning. The project will have more off-street parking than the roughly 300 spaces required. The site plan has 295 underground vehicle spaces, most of which are for building residents. There will be 150 ground-level spaces for Whole Foods. The project also includes 208 bicycle parking spaces for residents and 30 bike spaces for grocery store patrons.

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‘A Line’ Open House planned January 23

‘A Line’ Open House planned January 23

Posted on 15 January 2014 by robwas66

Interest brews for Snelling Avenue rapid transit

Metro Transit is hosting an open house in January to share information and invite feedback on the A Line, the Twin Cities’ first arterial Bus Rapid Transit project. It will be on Thurs., Jan. 23, 6-8pm at the Roseville Library Community Room, 2180 Hamline Ave. N., Roseville.

Metro Transit is hosting an open house in January to share information and invite feedback on the A Line, the Twin Cities’ first arterial Bus Rapid Transit project. It will be on Thurs., Jan. 23, 6-8pm at the Roseville Library Community Room, 2180 Hamline Ave. N., Roseville.

By JANE MCCLURE

Bus riders interested in a faster ride along Snelling Avenue are invited to an upcoming public hearing on the ‘A Line’, the planned bus rapid transit service for Snelling Avenue. It will be the Twin Cities’ first arterial bus rapid transit project and has drawn much interest from area transit users. It is set to start operations in late 2015.

Metro Transit is hosting an open house in January to share information and invite feedback on the A Line. It will be held on Thurs., Jan. 23, 6-8pm at the Roseville Library Community Room, 218 Hamline Ave. N., in Roseville.

The proposed bus line will serve Snelling Ave., Ford Parkway and 46th St. between Rosedale Center and the METRO Blue Line’s 46th St. Station. Some interest has been expressed in extending the line north to suburban job and educational institutions.

A community task force has meet for several months to discuss the line. The plans are meeting a generally favorable response, whether in terms of a faster commute or connecting to major destinations. The bus service is also seen as a potential catalyst for more economic development in the area. That would be especially welcomed by those who have waited and wondered about the long-vacant former Metro Transit bus garage site at Snelling and St. Anthony avenues. Decisions on that redevelopment could be made in the months ahead.

The A Line project, which has an estimated cost of $25 million, is on an ambitious schedule. Concept design is underway as are technical studies. Recently Metro Transit Project Manager Katie Routh noted that the project is drawing positive interest as well as questions.

“We’re having to balance a lot of competing interests,” she said. “One of the challenges on Snelling is that the street itself has a lot of different users. There are also a number of different land uses that have to be considered.”

Many area residents are serving on a Community Advisory Committee to help shape the line. More than 100 comments have been gathered on the project, at open houses and online.

While they are excited about the possibility of improved transit service, one worry advisory committee members have is that more people don’t know about it. The need for better outreach to colleges and students is another issue, as are payment systems, placement on enhanced bus stations and links to other connecting transit routes.

 

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JanFeat1_14Dignity3

Midway’s own ‘Remembering With Dignity’ receives national attention

Posted on 15 January 2014 by robwas66

Midway’s own Remembering With Dignity, the initiative to properly mark graves at Minnesota institutions and remember those who lived and died there, has received nationwide recognition this winter. The program has been featured twice on PBS programs this winter, most recently on the News Hour Dec. 26.

Midway’s own Remembering With Dignity, the initiative to properly mark graves at Minnesota institutions and remember those who lived and died there, has received nationwide recognition this winter. The program has been featured twice on PBS programs this winter, most recently on the News Hour Dec. 26.


By JANE MCCLURE

Midway’s own Remembering With Dignity, the initiative to properly mark graves at Minnesota institutions and remember those who lived and died there, has received nationwide recognition this winter. The program has been featured twice on PBS programs this winter, most recently on the News Hour Dec. 26. It was featured earlier on the Religion and Ethics Newsweekly show. See the show at www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/nation/july-dec13/graves_12-26.html

Supporters note that the national publicity, coupled with statewide coverage in Minnesota newspapers and in broadcast media, has enhanced Remembering With Dignity’s visibility and has brought much-needed attention to the forgotten people it honors. Articles about the program have appeared in the Star Tribune and Pioneer Press.

JanFeat1_14Dignity2

Supporters note that the national publicity, coupled with statewide coverage in Minnesota newspapers and in broadcast media, has enhanced Remembering With Dignity’s visibility and has brought much-needed attention to the forgotten people it honors.

Remembering With Dignity has also been featured on statewide broadcast media over the past few months. It is a program of the statewide self-advocacy group Advocating Change Together (ACT).

Remembering With Dignity and ACT are housed in the Griggs Midway Building. ACT is very visible at the state capitol and in other lobbying efforts. Remembering With Dignity is just one of its programs for people with disabilities.

Remembering With Dignity is a coalition of disability rights organizations. Since 1994, Remembering with Dignity has marked graves in institution cemeteries. Currently Minnesota has more than 13,000 graves marked by only a numbered cement block – or with no marker at all. Remembering With Dignity seeks to give every grave a marker with the person’s name, date of birth and date of death. The group also works to gather the life stories of people with disabilities, particularly those who have lived in institutions. Sometimes family members get involved to ensure that their loved ones are not forgotten.

But the work isn’t just about grave markers. Remembering With Dignity also works to change society, by organizing people with disabilities to ensure full integration in community life and to prevent a return to institutionalization. It also works to raise public awareness about people with developmental disabilities. One of its biggest accomplishments was in 2010 when, after 13 years of lobbying, an apology was made by the state of Minnesota, for how people with disabilities were treated in the past.

The PBS reports are by Fred de Sam Lazaro, as part of a reporting project funded by St. Mary’s University. His Dec. 26 report began at the Faribault State Hospital cemetery. “One solitary cross is all that suggests that this is a cemetery, and perhaps that’s fitting,” he said. “The several hundred people buried here spent most of their lives invisible to the outside world.”

The report centers on the family of Albertine Poitras. Her relatives had to go through historical archives to find her numbered grave. She was developmentally disabled. Her family placed her at Faribault during the Great Depression, when she was 34 years old. Family members believed they could no longer care for her. The program shows her grave with a name marker, not a number, and family members honoring her memory in a ceremony. The ceremony included Poitras family members, ACT staff and former Faribault residents.

JanFeat1_14Dignity3Family member Blair Poitras said, “You go through different emotions. You go, well, how come your family members didn’t tell you about this person? And just to be buried as a number. . . “

Those involved in Remembering with Dignity, which has marked more than 7,000 graves in recent years, described its importance in the PBS stories.

“The Jewish saying is that you die twice,” said Halle O’Falvey, who works with Remembering With Dignity. “You die once when you do die, but the second time you die is when your name isn’t spoken anymore.

Mary Kay Kennedy, co-director of ACT, described the 2010 Minnesota State Legislature’s apology to those who lived and died in state institutions like Faribault.

Faribault began as a residence for people with developmental disabilities. It is now part of the state’s correctional system.Kennedy told the PBS reporter that Faribault’s population peaked in the 1950s, at 3,355 people, which was about 45 percent over capacity. She noted that what had started in the 19th century as an innovative program had evolved into a place where only basic physical needs were met.

Anyone wanting to learn more about Remembering with Dignity can attend the 10am service at Hamline Church United Methodist, 1514 Englewood Ave., on Sun., Jan. 26. People from

the program are guest speakers. The day is United Methodist Women’s Sunday and the service is a reflection on the 2014 UMW theme of “The Church and Disability.” The event is open to the public and will include a self-advocates’ art show honoring the lives of those buried at state institutions. Access the church from the Englewood alley door, where there is an elevator.

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RecyclingFlyer

St. Paul switches to single sort recycling this spring

Posted on 15 January 2014 by robwas66

JanFeat1_14Recycling

By this spring, St. Paul residents will be able to make changes in the way they recycle. All recyclables put at curbside can go in one container, not two, meaning paper, cans, glass and plastics can be co-mingled. More plastics can also be put out every week.

By JANE MCCLURE

By this spring, St. Paul residents will be able to make changes in the way they recycle. All recyclables put at curbside can go in one container, not two, meaning paper, cans, glass and plastics can be co-mingled. More plastics can also be put out every week.

Those who don’t compost in their backyards or have a container of worms eating their organic trash will be able to take organic waste to the Ramsey County compost site on Pierce Butler Route. The changes are just two being rolled out in the next few years to get more people to recycle at their homes and recycle in public places.

The city not only needs to meet a state mandate to recycle 60 percent of its waste by 2030 (currently residents divert only about 20 percent), but to also divert 15 percent of its organic waste for recycling.

St. Paul’s curbside recycling tonnage peaked in 2008 at 18,240 tons. That dropped to 16,833.865 tons in 2009 and has dropped steadily to 15,918.49 for 2012. Recycling per household has also dropped over that same time, from a high of 483.17 pounds per household in 2008 to 421.68 pounds in 2012.

Yet that doesn’t mean St. Paul residents are generating less waste. In the Twin Cities metropolitan area, Ramsey County has the highest annual per-capita waste generation rate, at just under 1.2 tons per person. All six other metro area counties are lower, with Washington County the lowest at about .77 tons per person. When recycling rate changes are compared for the region, Ramsey and Carver are the only two counties where recycling rates have remain flat or dropped. (The figures are from 2011.)

City Council members and many community members want to see that change. One concern is that St. Paul has gone from being a leader in recycling to falling behind many other communities. Amy Brendmoen, Russ Stark and Chris Tolbert are the council members working on recycling and waste reduction issues. While the three and their colleagues agree that residents want more convenience with recycling, they suspect there may be more reasons for the decline in recycling and increase in trash going to landfills. They want to see everything from stepped-up community outreach to more opportunities to recycling in public places, along commercial streets and at community events and festivals.

“We’ve worked very diligently respond to residents’ concerns and make recycling easier,” Tolbert said.

Single-sort recycling, which starts in the spring, is seen as one way to boost recycling rates. Minneapolis went to a single-sort system last year and in the first full month of citywide, single-sort recycling, the city saw a 57.75 percent increase in volume of recyclables. Minneapolis’s overall recycling rate increased from 16.4 to 24.4 percent, and brought in almost 900 more tons of materials when compared to the same period one year ago. Anne Hunt, environmental coordinator for Mayor Chris Coleman, said Minneapolis city staff is seeing recycling by households that never recycled before.

RecyclingFlyerSt. Paul residents will get information on single-sort recycling in March. Because the changeover requires equipment changes for recycling contractor Eureka Recycling, single-sort will start at different times in different neighborhoods.

Residents will use their same blue bins in 2014 for single-sort recycling and to recycle more plastics, then switch to wheeled, lidded carts for recycling in 2015. Recycling bins move to alleys in 2015. By 2016, the city hopes to have alley or curbside organics recycling.

Spring 2014 is also when Ramsey County compost sites will be open for organics recycling drop-off. The St. Paul Planning Commission recommended approval of needed ordinance changes Dec. 20. Ramsey County applied for needed conditional use permits for sites in December. Those requests could go to the full Planning Commission for approval in late January.

Another change recommended is more public recycling, as is done on Grand Ave. People who ride buses or eventually take light rail along University Ave. will see recycling containers at bus hubs and along Central Corridor. The city also wants to add more recycling containers at recreation centers, parks and athletic fields.

But while they applaud the current plan, council members want to see more changes. Stark and Brendmoen said more needs to be done to encourage apartment buildings to recycle. Stark said there need to be more incentives offered to get more apartment owners to sign up, rather than kicking buildings out of the program when recycling bins aren’t used properly. Hunt agreed that changes are needed but noted it may take going building to building to promote recycling.

 

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JanFeat1_14WinterFreeze2

Canvas’ Winter Freeze III draws top young breakdancing talent from across the Twin Cities to Hancock Rec

Posted on 15 January 2014 by robwas66

JanFeat1_14WinterFreeze

By KYLE MIANULLI

Sat., Jan. 18, 4-10pm
Hancock Recreation Center
1610 W. Hubbard Ave.
St. Paul, MN 55104
$5 cover 

Catch some Twin Cities youth jumping, flipping and spinning to the beat at Hancock Recreation Center, 1610 W. Hubbard Ave., Jan. 18, 4-10pm. The Canvas Teen Art Program in the Hamline Midway neighborhood is hosting their third annual Winter Freeze event—a citywide breakdancing competition.

Talented young breakdancers—known as “bboys” and “bgirls” in the breakdancing community—from across the Twin Cities will be strutting their skills as their “crews” square off, competing for prizes and the first place Winter Freeze trophy.

Drawing an average of 300 people each year, according to Program Director Megan Mueller, Winter Freeze has become the premiere event for the Canvas. With a $5 cover, it helps raise revenue to support its other free workshops and programs offered by the popular area teen center throughout the year, including things like writing, spoken-word, photography, ceramics, hip-hop and more.

Supported by St. Paul Parks and Recreation, the Canvas was originally organized by the Saint Paul Youth Commission. With a permanent home inside the Hancock Rec building, the space features a dance studio, art room and gallery, performance stage, lounge and more. Many of the programs, offerings and events at the Canvas are thought of, organized and produced by youth through its Teen Leadership Council.

Aimed at young adults in grades 7 through 12, the organization seeks to serve young artists of all disciplines. Whether area teens are looking for resources and feedback to hone their craft, or just a cool place to hangout with friends after school, ‘The Canvas’ doors are open 3:30pm to 8pm, Monday through Thursday. Find out more on their blog at canvas651.blogspot.com, or find them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @canvas651.

JanFeat1_14WinterFreeze2

The Canvas Teen Art Program in the Hamline Midway neighborhood is hosting their third annual Winter Freeze event—a citywide breakdancing competition. (Photos courtesy of The Canvas)

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Monitor1_14_EagleScouts

Eagle Scout Ceremony honors seven

Posted on 14 January 2014 by robwas66

Monitor1_14_EagleScouts
Seven young men were inducted as Eagle Scouts during an Eagle Scout Court of Honor Dec. 28, at Jehovah Lutheran Church: (L to R) Matt Westpfahl, Jared Bluhm, Jacob Goodale, Connor Heck, Derek Murray, David Kolar and Kaiden Hanan. Nationally, only seven percent of Boy Scouts achieve Eagle Scout rank. Of these inductees, all active in scouting since age five, six attended Central Lutheran School in St. Paul. All seven received a letter of congratulations from President Obama.

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Monitor1_14_UrbanHillBilly

Music Under Glass sets weekly concerts

Posted on 14 January 2014 by robwas66

Urban Hillybilly Quartet

Urban Hillybilly Quartet

“Music Under Glass” is a free concert series performed through March 2 at the Como Park Conservatory, 1225 Esabrook Dr. Join your neighbors on Sundays in the tropical gardens and beat the “winter-blahs” from 4:30-6:30pm. Beer and wine will be available to purchase.

This year’s series includes:

• Jan. 19, “The Parisota Hot Club,” channeling the music of Django Reinhardt.

• Feb. 2, “Urban Hillbilly Quartet,” mashing together country, bluegrass and rock n’ roll.

• Feb. 9, “The Sudden Lovelys,” self-described “Aggressive Folk.”

• Feb. 16, “Cafe Accordion Orchestra,” swing ballads, tangos, cha-chas, and rumbas.

• Feb. 23, “The Ericksons”, heart-breaking and heart-warming harmonics.

• Mar. 2, “Jack Klatt,” songs resonate with blues, rags and jazz.

 

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Monitor1_14_HamlineLawDean

Hamline names new dean of law school

Posted on 14 January 2014 by robwas66

Monitor1_14_HamlineLawDeanHamline University announced that it has named Jean Holloway as dean of the Hamline School of Law. In this role, Holloway will be responsible for overseeing and providing strategic direction to the School of Law academic and related programs, leading the recruitment and retention efforts of the school, managing its fiscal resources, leading its fundraising efforts, and serving as a university officer in collaborative work on governance, strategic planning, fund development, and institutional assessments.

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Hearing on local plan set for Feb. 7

Hearing on local plan set for Feb. 7

Posted on 14 January 2014 by robwas66

Monitor1_14_BigNewsThe Saint Paul Planning Comm­ission will hold a public hearing regarding the draft Hamline Midway Community Plan on Feb. 7. The hearing will be held in Room 40 of City Hall at 8:30am as part of the regularly scheduled Planning Commission meeting. The Hamline Midway Comm­unity Plan was developed by staff of the Hamline Midway Coalition and the Saint Paul Department of Planning and Economic Development. It summarizes the policies and strategies found in the full plan adopted by the Hamline Midway Coalition in 2011. A link to the plan can be found at http://www. stpaul.gov/DocumentCenter/View/70165. Following Planning Commission action, the City Council will consider the Hamline Midway Community Plan for adoption as an addendum to the Saint Paul Comprehensive Plan.

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Discovery Club