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Archive | September, 2015

IMG_2313HamlineWalkers

Residents push for bus route down Hamline

Posted on 10 September 2015 by Calvin

Hamline Hi-Rise seniors lead the effort to add bus route down Hamline Ave. to light rail line

By TESHA M. CHRISTENSEN

IMG_2313HamlineWalkersIf you live near 777 N. Hamline Ave., you have to take three buses to get to the grocery store on University Ave. W.

Photo right: Proud Hamline Walkers have gone door-to-door canvassing the neighborhood with a petition asking for a bus route down Hamline Ave. Over 250 have signed it. (Photo by Tesha M. Christensen)

Some senior residents of the Hamline Hi-Rise opt to drive their power wheelchairs down the street instead, traveling nine blocks south to get to the shops along University.
Jerline Clark doesn’t think that’s safe. And she’s working to do something about it.
Clark is pushing for a bus route down Hamline.

When the Green Line opened, Metro Transit added a route along Lexington, she pointed out, using federal funds designated for the purpose of moving people towards the light rail line. Representatives with Metro Transit have told Clark they won’t add a line along Hamline because there is one on Lexington.

“We still can’t get to the light rail,” remarked Clark, who has been a resident at the Hamline Hi-Rise since 2005. Completed in 1976, 777 N. Hamline has 17 floors and 186 one-bedroom apartments. It is operated by the St. Paul Public Housing Agency.

IMG_2321SmJerlineClark“They made the decision of where to put the buses without asking the people in the neighborhood,” she added. “There’s more need down Hamline than there is on Lexington.”

Photo left: Jerline Clark, a resident at the Hamline Hi-Rise, is leading the effort to get a bus down Hamline. “I see a need for this,” she explained. (Photo by Tesha M. Christensen)

Over 250 people agreed with her and signed a petition last fall requesting a bus down Hamline.

In addition to asking fellow Hamline Hi-Rise residents to sign, Clark and the Proud Hamline Senior Walkers went door-to-door in the neighborhood asking for signatures.

“There are a lot of people from different walks of life that want the bus,” remarked Darlene Jackson, a fellow Hi-Rise resident who helped canvas the neighborhood. She pointed out that many Hamline University students indicated they’d use a bus if there was one.

Emily Samsel lives next door to the Hamline Hi-Rise and regularly volunteers there with her church, The Third Way Community, that meets at Knox Presbyterian Church.

“It seems like a no-brainer to me,” said Samsel.

Right now, residents walk two blocks down to Minnehaha to catch a bus. They take that over to Snelling where they have to switch buses. That takes them only as far as University. Then they have to switch buses again to find one to take them to Cub.

Imagine doing that as a senior and then hauling your grocery bags back, switching buses several times again. Now factor in inclement weather and icy roads.

“In the winter, it’s terrible,” added Jackson. “We’re got to eat too. That’s where the grocery stores are.”

Samsel acknowledged that the residents could opt to use Metro Mobility, but it isn’t predictable, and it costs $3 or $4 each way, she said. For someone who has to get to a doctor’s appointment three times a week, that adds up.

“Most seniors are pretty limited,” Samsel pointed out.

Some people opt to walk, but that can be tough too, pointed out Samsel. “These sidewalks are trouble,” said Samsel. “I trip every time and I don’t have a disability.”

Because of the bumps and sidewalks that aren’t shoveled well, the power wheelchairs use the smoother street surface.

Samsel believes that many residents would use a bus if it ran down Hamline. “It’s good for everybody,” she stated.

As she’s talked to neighborhood residents, she has only heard support for the initiative.
They aren’t asking for a private bus, stressed Clark. “We just need it to be convenient,” she said.

Clark pointed out that they’re flexible about how often the bus runs down Hamline. It could be every two hours or just mornings and afternoons.

Last October, a community meeting was held at the Hamline Hi-Rise. Clark plans to hold another within the next few months to garner more support for the bus route.

She also urges residents to contact these people to show their support:
—Met Council Representative Jon Commers 651-645-4664
—Metro Transit General Manager Brian Lamb 612-349-7510
—St. Paul City Council Member Russ Stark 651-266-8640
—Minnesota Department of Transportation Commissioner Charlie Zelle 651-366-1899

For more information, contact Clark at jerlineclark@hotmail.com.

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Taco Bell withdraws plans for new restaurant

Taco Bell withdraws plans for new restaurant

Posted on 10 September 2015 by Calvin

By JANE MCCLURE

Taco Bell 1Taco Bell’s food fight with the St. Paul Planning Commission isn’t over yet, even though restaurant owner Border Foods has withdrawn its plans for a new restaurant. The commission’s Zoning Committee meets Sept. 10 (as the Monitor is being delivered) with city planning and Department of Safety and Inspections (DSI) staff to review compliance of the existing restaurant use with standards, conditions and permits.

The meeting isn’t a public hearing, but it’s likely a few of the restaurant’s neighbors will be on hand to hear what, if anything, can be done about what many contend are problems with late-night and early morning noise and patron behavior in the restaurant’s drive-through service. An after-bar-closing-time crowd has been blamed for loud noise and disruptive behavior. Some of the behavior has wound up on YouTube.

A restaurant has stood at 565 Snelling Ave. since Zantigo opened in 1973. At some point a drive-through window was installed, although a conditional use permit was never issued. Nor can city staff find proof that building permits were ever obtained before the window was installed. With no conditional use permit, the city never had a chance to restrict operations.

The original fast food restaurant was issued a conditional use permit, but it lacks conditions. St. Paul requires fast food restaurants to have such permits; all drive-through uses must have separate conditional use permits.

Taco Bell is on a site that was rezoned for traditional neighborhoods use, over Border Foods’ objections. That rezoning was done as part of long-range land use planning along the Green Line light-rail corridor. While it was meant to promote long-term redevelopment, the site’s small size means any redevelopment would likely require land assembly over a long time.

The Planning Commission was poised Aug. 19 to put some conditions on the new restaurant and drive-through, including closing at 1am instead of the current 5am on weekends. The commission also wanted more security as well as conditions on new building design and the number of parking spaces.

But because Taco Bell wanted longer hours and disagreed with the conditions, the new restaurant plans were withdrawn. The plans can be resubmitted in the future.
But Planning Commission members said business cannot continue as usual.

“We have some significant concerns regarding the operations by Border Foods,” said Commissioner Julie Padilla. She said the conditions hammered out were respectful to the business and its neighborhood.

Several commissioners said the result could have been a new restaurant that neighbors could live with. They want to hear from DSI about what is being done to deal with problems blamed on Taco Bell, and what changes can be made.

The commission also wants a complete look at all inspections and building-related history, including complaints about behavior. It’s not clear what would come out of that discussion and what the commission could recommend. But some commissioners said it’s obvious the city hasn’t been responsive to complaints. Border Foods has countered that it has been responsive and had worked with city staff and police to address issues.

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New Midway group takes aim at senior health

Posted on 10 September 2015 by Calvin

On Sat., Oct. 3, the Hamline Midway Health Movement (HMHM) will partner with Hamline Elementary School’s Fall Festival in a local scavenger hunt. Participants will walk from Hamline Elementary south on Snelling Ave., visiting local businesses and then return to the school. ‘Hunters’ will be given a Bingo game card with a listing of the participating local businesses noted on the card.

The goal of the scavenger hunt is for participants to walk into the businesses named on the card and receive a sticker from that business. Once the card is filled, the participants will return to Hamline Elementary and enter their completed card in a drawing for a grand prize. The Fall Festival will take place between noon and 4pm on the Hamline Elementary School grounds.

HMHM hopes the event will benefit the community in several ways. Participants will receive the benefit of exercise, fun, socialization, and getting to know neighborhood businesses. Local business will benefit from the prospect of new customers. Participating businesses are encouraged to provide the ‘hunters’ with a business card or flyer; perhaps a coupon or some other incentive to encourage our hunters to purchase from that store. This event wouldn’t be possible without the help and support of the local businesses along Snelling Ave.

Together with our community partners, we hope to improve the health of Hamline Midway adults over the age of fifty and have the Hamline Midway community be known as a “wellness district.”

HMHM is a volunteer, community-based, “grass roots” initiative whose goal is to inspire and engage seniors in the Hamline Midway area to incorporate healthier lifestyle choices into their daily lives.

Within the Hamline Midway senior community, the HMHM will host monthly educational and informative seminars, as well as provide physical and social activities with the goal of increasing the awareness and importance of self-care and prevention strategies. The larger intent is to reduce chronic health issues and the subsequent unsustainable dependency on healthcare services and a diminished lifestyle. Most importantly they hope to address the physical, mental, social and emotional concerns seniors experience and help them live their lives more fully and continue to be contributing and integral members of our community.

HMHM is in the early planning stages, but already there is synergy between this group and the community. The goal is to host a free, once-a-month gathering for Hamline Midway seniors. It could be followed by the educational programs on such topics  as Alzheimer’s and dementia, resources for caregivers, end-of-life planning, managing limited finances, teaching basic computer skills, gardening tips etc. Attendees will receive a light, healthy dinner, followed by activities such as educational speakers, exercise programs teaching yoga and Tai Chi, organized walking groups, ballroom dancing, board games, and yes, Bingo.

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St. Paul contemplates more liquor licenses on University Ave.

Posted on 10 September 2015 by Calvin

By JANE MCCLURE

A desire to add more dining and drinking options along University Ave. and Green Line light-rail service could result in St. Paul’s largest commercial development district. The district could be established by year’s end or early 2016. City officials hope it would jumpstart redevelopment at several sites between Lexington Pkwy. and the west city limits.

The district would be one-half block deep in some areas and would extend several blocks north and south in other areas, starting at Aldine St. In the West Midway, it would extend to take in former industrial sites that are being converted for mixed-use redevelopment, going as far north as Pierce Butler Rte. It would also extend north on Snelling several blocks to Englewood Ave., to include an area recently rezoned for mixed use. And, it would extend south to Interstate 94 along Snelling. City officials are hoping that when A Line rapid bus service starts on Snelling in early 2016, the improved transit would be an incentive for economic development.

It wouldn’t include the Midway Center superblock, which is eyed as a possible new Major League Soccer stadium site.

Ward Four Council Member Russ Stark brought forward the district in response to requests from property owners. It is one of two commercial development districts pending in the city. The other is centered on the former Schmidt Brewery keg house at 882 W. 7th St., which developer Craig Cohen is converting into a festival marketplace.
“Obviously, along the Green Line, we’re looking at creating more development opportunities,” said Samantha Henningson, legislative aide to Stark. The intent is to bring in more restaurants with full liquor licenses.

“Restaurants would love to come to St. Paul. But, when there is no license available, they’re no longer interested,’” said Dan Niziolek, deputy director of the city’s Department of Safety and Inspections (DSI).

If a commercial development district is created along University, any existing on-sale liquor licenses could then be used in other places in the ward.

St. Paul has had a citywide and per-council ward cap on on-sale liquor licenses for many years. Ward Four, Ward Three and Ward Two neighborhoods outside of downtown have no licenses available. Ward One has eight licenses available. The Ward One section of the proposed commercial development district extends from Lexington to Snelling. Henningson said including that part of University is still being discussed with the Ward One council office.

DSI officials, the city’s Business Review Council and City Council members are looking at making changes to St. Paul on-sale liquor regulations, but that will mean changing the city charter. It could also mean redefining restaurants and changing the longstanding rule of 60 percent food sales to 40 percent alcohol sales for on-sale liquor licenses. The changes could take many months, so as an interim step commercial development districts have to be implemented.

Ward Four has a cap of 16 on-sale liquor licenses. The last available license was snapped up earlier this year by Episcopal Homes, a senior living campus, which offers liquor in its private dining room. One group interested in a liquor license is Can Can Wonderland, the group seeking to convert a former N. Prior Ave. can manufacturing factory into an artist-designed mini-golf course. It would include a restaurant.

Ward One has 26 on-sale licenses; eight are available. The proposed soccer stadium site is in Ward One.

Commercial development districts typically have a neighboring property owner petition process, but that would be waived in this case because of the size of the district. Instead, a public input process would be set up through the Union Park, Hamline-Midway and St. Anthony Park district councils. The councils would hold public meetings.

The city also requires that before any commercial development district goes to the Planning Commission and City Council for approval, there needs to be a public hearing in the neighborhood where the district would be located.

The City Council enacted the districts in the 1980s as a way to develop entertainment districts. But the districts have had mixed success. Downtown St. Paul has about three dozen liquor licenses, most in restaurants. Cathedral Hill’s Selby Ave. commercial development district has also thrived.

But districts established at Energy Park, University and Dale St., University and Hamline, and at the former Amtrak station on Pierce Butler Rte. have not. Energy Park only has a couple of bar-restaurants. The other districts have no on-sale licenses at all. The remaining districts are single-site districts, set up so that a specific restaurant can sell liquor. Niziolek said city officials would prefer larger commercial development districts, and not single-site districts, in the future.

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St. Paul moves to encourage soccer stadium in the Midway

Posted on 09 September 2015 by Calvin

By JANE MCCLURE

If a Major League Soccer (MLS) stadium is built near Snelling and St. Anthony avenues the site would be exempt from property taxes. That exemption, adopted unanimously Aug. 26 by the St. Paul City Council, is in a non-binding resolution that outlines other goals for the property.

One goal is that the team owners build and operate a facility entirely with their own money. Another is that any stadium deal should involve payments to Metropolitan Council, which owns the 10-acre site. Those payments, suggested by Council President Russ Stark, would be used to support operations of the region’s transit system.

Council members Chris Tolbert and Dai Thao brought forward the resolution seeking the tax exemption for the 10-acre site. They noted that the property, which was the site of the Metro Transit bus garage or bus barn for more than 50 years, has been tax-exempt for that length of time. The resolution also states that a soccer stadium could be the needed catalyst to spur redevelopment of the bus garage site, as well as 25 adjacent acres owned by RK Midway. Much of that property is now occupied by Midway Center.

Stark said his intent in amending the resolution was to emphasise the long-awaited development of the entire Midway Center superblock. In 2011, the shopping center and adjacent land were the focus of the Snelling Station Area Plan, developed in conjunction with the Green Line light-rail service. More recently, RK Midway, City, and Metropolitan Council members, have developed a long-range plan to redevelop the site. Getting the long-awaited redevelopment in motion is another goal.

Stark amended the resolution to ask that a stadium accommodate many other uses and public events.

The amendment also asks that “a fair, sensible plan can be developed for the construction of needed public infrastructure around the site.” This infrastructure would include streets, sidewalks, bike facilities, park or public space, shared parking and storm water management. The adjacent Midway Center, bus barn property, and another vacant parcel have been eyed for various redevelopment ideas for more than three decades. But costs of infrastructure have been a hurdle.

Soccer team owner Bill McGuire has indicated that if the Midway site is chosen, the team would like additional land for offices and spinoff development. But that has raised concerns about current Midway Center tenants, who worry if they could stay. Big Top Liquors could especially be affected because of the city’s one-half mile distance requirement between off-sale liquor stores. A move could put that store out of compliance, and it could be forced to relocate.

Stark said one thing everyone can agree on is that the vacant property needs to be redeveloped. Even if a soccer stadium isn’t built there, the recent focus on the site could bring in other proposals. He called the current site conditions “unacceptable.”

The property tax exemption for the stadium would require approval from the Minnesota Legislature. There would also be federal approval, as well as Metropolitan Council approval required to sell the site, as federal dollars were used for the bus garage years ago.
City Council members said they have heard a range of comments for and against a soccer stadium and the property tax exemption. While city officials would like to see MLS soccer in St. Paul, “obviously this doesn’t guarantee anything,” said Tolbert. “There’s no deal.”

But the resolution does send a positive message about the site and its advantage sincluding proximity to I-94. and bus and rail transit.

“I know there’s a lot of fears and uncertainty about the possibility of a stadium,” said Thao. The site is in his ward. “This says what we’re willing to offer and what we’re not willing to compromise on.”

Stark, whose ward is adjacent to the site, said he too has heard support and opposition. He acknowledged that the discussions have moved very quickly and that there’s been concern about having neighborhood input. Union Park District Council (UPDC) drew a large crowd to a community input meeting this summer and is continuing to gather neighborhood feedback. This summer UPDC voted to support studies of the possible soccer stadium if development planning incorporates the entire superblock.

But the vote has drawn criticism from City Council candidates Jane Prince, David Glass and Tom Goldstein, who are running in Wards Seven, Five and Four. All have been vocal on social media against any stadium proposal. Prince posted a picture of a deteriorated East Side recreation center soccer field to make a point about the city supporting the wrong priorities.

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Development Roundup

Posted on 09 September 2015 by Calvin

By JANE MCCLURE

Dickerman Park development means parking changes for Griggs Midway
Development of Dickerman Park along University Ave. means the Griggs Midway Building Corporation must vacate space it has used for many years for parking. The St. Paul City Council, acting as the Housing and Redevelopment Authority (HRA) Board, voted unanimously Aug. 12 to approve a forgivable loan of up to $200,000 to assist with a parking lot redevelopment project.

Funds will come from the Neighborhood Commercial Parking Pilot Program, which wasset up by the HRA in 2009 during Green Line light rail construction.

The Griggs Midway Building Corporation owns five buildings on the block at the northeast corner of Fairview and University. Two of the buildings front on Dickerman Park, which is being reclaimed by the Department of Parks and Recreation after decades of private use for parking. That eliminates about 57 parking spaces. Also, a parking lot was developed along Fairview that encroaches upon city right-of-way. Another 27 parking spaces will be lost as the city also wishes to reclaim that property.

Redesigning parking behind and beside the Griggs Midway complex will make up for most of the lost parking. Because it is within one-quarter mile of an LRT station, there are no parking requirements for Griggs Midway. No additional city or HRA approvals are required. No existing businesses will be displaced or relocated.

Groundbreaking for Prior Crossing planned Sept. 21
Construction starts this fall on a University Ave. site just east of Prior Ave. The groundbreaking event for Prior Crossing, as the housing is called, will take place Mon., Sept. 21, 5-6:30pm, at 1949 University Ave. State and local officials expected to attend include St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman, Rep. Alice Hausman, Ward Four Council Member Russ Stark, and Minnesota Housing Finance Agency Commissioner Mary Tingerthal.

The building will house Ramsey County’s first supportive housing for youth and young adults who have experienced homelessness. It will be within blocks of the Green Line’s Fairview station, making housing conveniently accessible to both downtown areas and plenty of job and educational opportunities.

Capital funding for the 44-unit, $10.7 million project was finalized with $8 million in state tax credit funds awarded to Beacon in 2014 when the state legislature authorized $100 million for affordable housing bonds. Other public funders include the City of St. Paul ($1.1 million) and the Metropolitan Council ($927,000). St. Paul Public Housing Authority awarded the housing 32 Section 8 project-based vouchers that will keep rents affordable.

Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative, working with The House of Hope Presbyterian Church and other local congregations and the Amherst H. Wilder Foundation, made Prior Crossing a reality. The House of Hope congregation donated $500,000 in initial funding to leverage further private and public capital and operating funds. Wilder Foundation will provide on-site supportive services to the 44 young tenants who will live at Prior Crossing.
Raymond Ave. Flats project moves ahead with changes

The Raymond Ave. Flats project can proceed, but with changes meant to mitigate its impacts on the University-Raymond Commercial Heritage Preservation District. The St. Paul City Council unanimously upheld an appeal last month by Exeter Group and overturned project denial by the St. Paul Heritage Preservation Commission (HPC).
Planned is a five-story, 119-apartment addition to the General Motors Truck Company Building at 2390-2400 University Ave.

“This was a difficult one,” said Council President Russ Stark. The development is in his ward. Stark said he could support the project with changes in design that would balance the site’s traditional neighborhood zoning and its historic district issues. The design changes have already been submitted to city officials.

Stark also asked Exeter to work with the HPC staff on issues including placement of HVAC equipment, demolition of a chimney, and exterior materials for new construction.
Thomas Nelson, who is leading the project for Exeter, said the developers are satisfied with the outcome. “We’ve agreed to the changes and will continue to work with the city,” he said.

The historic district is centered on historic industrial and warehouse uses, the West Midway trucking industry and the Minnesota Transfer Railroad. The projects’ building is considered contributing to the historic district.

Stark said that the project changes should address concerns that HPC raised in its June vote to deny the project. He said that some HPC findings are speculative. One of the concerns the HPC raised was that extensive alterations to the building could potentially affect the historic status of the property and possibly, the entire historic district. But Stark questioned that, as did consultants hired by the developers.

The truck company building, which was built in 1928, is one story high. It is between two multi-story buildings. It is L-shaped and wraps around the former Twin Cities State Bank. It is west of another Exeter project, the seven-story C&E Lofts. Until recently the building housed an armored vehicle company.

Streetscape project gets support from city
Allocating $1 million from the city’s sales tax revenue Pay-Go Economic Development Fund will help cover costs of Snelling Ave. streetscape work, as well as planning for the former Ford Motor Company site redevelopment, commercial zoning vitality funding, the St. Paul Design Center budget, and other projects. But the Aug. 19 vote by the St. Paul City Council wasn’t unanimous as council members Dave Thune and Dai Thao voted against.

The program, which was set up last year by the City Council, is meant to provide flexible approach to commercial revitalization throughout the city by investing in neighborhood commercial corridor districts that have assets with potential, organizations with capacity, and community-developed plans. The intent is to leverage other investment. Most of the funding goes for plan implementation, with a smaller amount toward planning.

Thao objected to a $75,000 allocation to reduce street assessments and help pay for streetscape work along Snelling Ave. in Hamline-Midway. The street is being rebuilt this year to accommodate the A Line rapid bus improvements. He contended that other businesses have also had to pay high street assessments. But other council members noted that the city has reduced other assessments in commercial districts in the past, including along Green Line light-rail.

The allocations also included $200,000 for Ford planning, $50,000 toward the design center and its work implementing various community plans, and projects on Rice St., Payne Ave., Phalen Village, and E. 7th and Arcade streets.

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Monitor in a Minute

Posted on 09 September 2015 by Calvin

Compiled by JANE MCCLURE

Campus boundary study postponed over objections
A campus boundaries study, which would restrict how St. Paul colleges and universities use properties they own outside of their boundaries, has been postponed. The postponement would give St. Paul Planning and Economic Development (PED) staff more time to discuss issues with college and university officials.

That delay disappoints area residents concerned about Hamline University’s trend of buying houses outside of its boundaries and tearing them down. The university’s year-long, self-imposed moratorium on further teardowns expires this fall.

But after a public hearing last month where college and university officials objected to the study and its recommendations, a Planning Commission committee voted Aug. 26 to table the study and allow for more discussions. Hamline University, University of St. Thomas and Macalester College complained that the proposed restrictions were too onerous.

According to city staff, the recommendations are meant to discourage institutions from buying properties outside of their city-approved boundaries and tearing them down. The proposed zoning code change states that any property where the primary structure has been demolished within the past 10 years shall not be eligible for inclusion in a college, university or seminary boundary. The intent is to have more discussion about future use of those properties. Once a building comes down, that is seen as changing the surrounding neighborhood.

Trend Bar fined
A University Ave. bar has been penalized after an employee took part in charitable gambling on the premises. The St. Paul City Council last month imposed a $500 fine on the Trend Bar, 1537 University Ave. The bar owner didn’t appeal the decision or ask for a hearing before the City Council.

The council action stemmed from an April complaint to the city. The Minnesota Gambling Board found that a bartender/employee had been gambling at the Trend Bar, collecting $3,800 in pull-tab winnings in March. State law and city code prevent employees of an establishment that offers charitable gambling from taking part in gambling there.

Bars in St. Paul offer pull-tabs in conjunction with nonprofits. The pull-tabs in question would have benefitted Adonis Eco-Housing, a nonprofit that works on affordable housing issues. When pull-tabs are sold at a bar, workers can sell the pull-tabs at a booth. Or, pull-tabs can be sold at the bar. It’s up to the nonprofit to provide training for bar staff.
The Minnesota Gambling Control Board is reviewing the case and will decide whether it will take action against Adonis Eco-Housing. After the incident was reported, the nonprofit no longer sells pull-tabs at the Trend Bar.

Park plans materialize
A 5.4-acre site along Griggs St. will become a park as a result of St. Paul City Council action Aug. 19. The council approved spending $1.5 million from the city’s 8-80 Vitality Fund toward acquisition of the property, which is one-half block south of University Ave.
The park will extend south to St. Anthony Ave. along the east side of Griggs. The concept for the park was brought forward by Gordon Parks High School students and has been known since 2011 as Three Ring Gardens Park. That name was chosen because the area was known historically as “Circus Hill”—traveling circuses would set up there. City officials have been using the name “Lexington Commons.”

City officials will work with the Trust for Public Land, a national nonprofit group that helps units of government purchase and preserve space for parks use. The Trust recently helped the city buy the a Frogtown for conversion into an urban farm and park space there. The Trust will help with fundraising for the project.

Much of the Griggs St. property was used for years as parking lots for University Ave. motor vehicle dealerships. The site is between the Central Medical Building and current Wilder Foundation complex, and Skyline Towers and commercial-industrial development. The property has three owners.

The Trust for Public Land will raise $1.035 million for the project.

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Como 9th grade orientation

News from Como Park High School

Posted on 09 September 2015 by Calvin

Como 9th grade orientationBy ERIC ERICKSON

• Photo left: Freshmen Orientation for Como High’s class of 2019 included get-to-know you activities in the school gym on Thur., Sept. 3 with leadership from Como’s Link Crew. The first day of classes was Tue., Sept. 8.

• Principal Theresa Neal collaborated with Sharon Sayles Belton to host the Como Park faculty at the Thomson Reuters corporate office on the morning of Mon., Aug. 31. Sayles Belton is the Vice President of Community Relations and Government Affairs at Thomson Reuters, former Mayor of Minneapolis, and longtime friend of Neal. The two leaders helped arrange a new Como partnership with the multinational mass media and legal business firm that was formerly West Publishing.

Como staff boarded school buses on Mon., Aug. 31 to attend informative sessions with Thomson Reuters’ senior management about 21st century work expectations and desired skill sets for future employees. Consistent themes emphasized were collaboration, communication, global awareness, adaptability, cultural competencies and a growth mindset. Financial Literacy was also a key theme and component that the employer covets, dovetailing with Como’s successful and growing Academy of Finance (AOF). Como teachers and staff identified overlapping and consistent goals that coincide with Thomson Reuters’ and are looking forward to connecting Como students with ongoing opportunities, such as internships and employment, that will be supported by the partnership between Como and Thomson Reuters.

• Como Park Robotics (aka BEASTBot) took part in “Robots Invade the Plaza” at 3M on Friday, August 7. The team networked with other teams and employees from 3M, Como’s largest financial sponsor during the STEM-focused summer festival. The team is recruiting new members and mentors for this upcoming season. Please contact beastbot2855@gmail.com with any questions or interest.

• One of Como’s teachers performed at the State Fair on STEM Day, Thur., Aug. 27. Donna Norberg, a science teacher, is also a member of the University of Minnesota’s Physics Force – an outreach troupe promoting physics to primary audiences of elementary and middle school students. The Physics Force brought the physics fun for three shows throughout the day at the Carousel Park stage.

• Five Como teachers recently spent a week participating in the BestPrep Technology Integration Workshop. Sessions included strategizing tactics and methods to increase student engagement and achievement. As part of the workshop, teachers also spent an afternoon job shadowing professionals at Travelers in downtown St. Paul. Discussions centered on the “soft skills” that students need to be successful after high school.

• Freshmen Orientation was held on Thursday morning, Sept. 3, with Como’s Link Crew! Link Crew consists of upperclassmen mentors and leaders that help all freshmen become associated with their new school and guide them throughout the school year. 50 juniors and seniors spent parts of their summer in leadership training, and enthusiastically welcomed the class of 2019 with activities to get their Como careers off to a great start. (see photo)

• Students and the community will be celebrating Spirit Week and Homecoming beginning Sept. 14. Events include dress up days during the week, along with the “Battle of the Classes,” Homecoming Coronation, and Fall Sports Pep Fest at an assembly. Homecoming games at Como during the week include:
—Volleyball on Thur., Sept. 17 at 7pm vs. Johnson;
—Boys’ and Girls’ Soccer on Fri., Sept. 18, vs. Humboldt (boys at 3:15pm, girls at 5pm); and
—Football on Sat., Sept. 19, vs. Concordia Academy at 2pm. The football game will be played at Griffin Stadium.

• Sat., Sept. 19 will be the annual Homecoming Parade, beginning from the school at 11am. The parade route runs north on Grotto, turning left on Wheelock toward the lake, then left on E. Como Blvd. before heading back into the school grounds. The parade will feature Como’s marching band, sports teams, academic groups, the Cadets from the MCJROTC and more. Parents, neighbors, friends of the community, and alumni are invited to line the parade route and then attend the picnic at school following the parade.

• Sports fans can check schedules for all Como and St. Paul City teams at sports.spps.org.

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Roseville series aims to help people cope better with Alzheimer’s

Posted on 09 September 2015 by Calvin

By WARREN WOLFE

A series of documentary movies and talks by local experts will offer area residents an opportunity to build skills and confidence as they learn more about Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia illnesses.

It is a growing issue as people live longer. About 90,000 Minnesotans have dementia, a number projected to reach 120,000 in 10 years. Overall, one in nine people age 65 and older will develop dementia, rising sharply to one in three among those 85 and older.

The series of talks and movies is sponsored by the Roseville ACT on Alzheimer’s project—part of a statewide ACT program now with 34 volunteer groups working to create “dementia-friendly” communities.

That concept focuses on building awareness, education and skills so that those with dementia can continue to live as independently as possible in their communities, helped by friends, family, neighbors businesses and city services.

The fall program will start Sun., Sept. 20, 1-4pm, with a showing of the HBO documentary “The Alzheimer’s Project: Caregivers,” at Lyngblomsten Care Center, 1415 Almond Ave.
The expert series starts 1-2:30pm, Thur., Oct. 8 at Roseville City Hall, 2660 Civic Center Dr. Neurologist Dr. Michael Rosenbloom, director of the HealthPartners Memory Clinic in St. Paul, will talk about “Understanding Dementia & Alzheimer’s Disease.”

Other talks will be:
—Oct. 15, neuro-psychologist Dr. Sonia Mosch of the HealthPartners Memory Clinic, “Testing for Dementia: Diagnosis to Treatment and Real World Implications”;
—Oct. 22, Deb Nygaard of Arthur’s Residential Care in Roseville, “Practical Tips for Avoiding Power Struggles”; and
—Oct. 29, Catherine Engstrom of Wilder Foundation Caregiver Services, “Caregiver Stress/Burnout (Taking Care of You).”

Finally, two documentaries showing how the arts help those with dementia will be presented at Lyngblomsten from 1-4pm on two Sundays. Nov. 1 will be the screening of “Alive Inside,” about the power of music to tap stored memories. Nov. 15, “I Remember Better When I Paint” will be shown.

All events are free and open to the public, and will include time for audience questions.

Warren Wolfe is a former reporter for the Star Tribune, where he wrote about aging and health care issues for more than 20 years. He is retired and is active with the Roseville Alzheimer’s and Dementia Community Action Team.

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Celebration of history planned at Hamline Methodist Sept. 27

Posted on 09 September 2015 by Calvin

Hamline Church United Methodist, 1514 Englewood Ave., will celebrate its history and its historic ties to neighboring Hamline University with a special service at 10am Sun., Sept. 27.

Bruce Ough, bishop of the Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church, will preach. Bishop Ough will help Hamline Church dedicate plaques and celebrate its accomplishments. In 2015, the church was named as a Minnesota Annual Conference Historic Site. The church also received an award for outstanding historic preservation work by the St. Paul Heritage Preservation Commission and the St. Paul Chapter of the American Institute of Architects. The church received that award as part of Preservation Month activities in May.

During the service, longtime Hamline Church member and volunteer Marguerite Pramann will be honored. Pramann has been on many church committees, served as church historian and has been active in United Methodist Women at the church and district levels.

The Sept. 27 event is also an opportunity to tour the church, meet new Hamline University President Fayneese Miller, learn about church activities and see the new community bread oven. Refreshments will be served after the service.

In recognition of the church’s 135-year history as neighbor to Hamline University, a display is now open at Klas Center at Snelling and Englewood avenues. The display includes information about church activities old and new, including the church’s Minnesota State Fair dining hall, the noted Minnesota artists whose works are featured at the church, church gardens and much more. The exhibit is free and open during Klas Center hours.

For general information about Hamline Church, go to www.hamlinechurch.org or call 651-645-0667 to speak with Pastor Mariah Furness Tollgaard.

For information about the Sept. 27 event, contact Church Historian Mary Bakeman at marybakeman@msn.com nor call 651-488-4416.

For information about, and a virtual tour of, Klas Center, go to http://www.hamline.edu/about/virtual-tour/klas-center.

For information about Bishop Ough, go to https://minnesotaumc.org/news/meet-bishop-bruce-ough.

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