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Archive | May, 2019

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Steve Kufus handball tourney 2019

Posted on 12 May 2019 by Tesha Christensen

Every year the Minnesota Youth Handball recognize a person that has given a lot to promote handball in Minnesota by naming the tournament after them. This year outstanding person is Steve Kufus who has given time to help teach, moral support and financial support to the Minnesota Youth Handball Community.
This year the Midway YMCA had a program called Court Sports where handball, racquetball and wolleyball is taught. The players entered the Minnesota State Handball 2019 tournament that was held at the University of Minnesota. Ayan Hassan a 11-year-old from Friends School won the 2 bounce Youth Handball Tournament.
The Youth Handball Program has been growing every year. This year the group taught 40 to 50 young adults (from eight different countries) to play the game. Phil Gebben Green, along with the University of Minnesota students, worked with the older players to teach not only handball but leadership, responsibility, honesty, friendship, and sportsmanship. Mitchell Lallier, along with the older players, worked with the younger players (5-12) to learn the value of playing handball at the Midway YMCA.

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Mixed-use, multi-family projects are moving ahead

Posted on 12 May 2019 by Tesha Christensen

Development Roundup

By JANE MCCLURE

MISCO awarded city funding
A Midway company will benefit from a $49,500 forgivable Strategic Investment Fund (SIF) loan. The St. Paul City Council, acting as the Housing and redevelopment Authority, approved the loan to MISCO April 10.
Company leader Dan Digre told council members that the loan will assist with relocation to the new headquarters at 1771 Energy Park Drive. The company was founded 70 years ago by his father, Clifford, when the family lived in the Selby-Dale neighborhood. Dan Digre said it is fitting that the company is returning to its St. Paul roots.
MISCO designs, tests and manufactures loudspeakers and amplifiers. Its new headquarters facility will be the only speaker design, testing and manufacturing operation of its kind in North America.
MISCO has outgrown its location in Minneapolis and needs to locate somewhere with room to grow that is welcoming to their business and unique industrial needs. The loan will help with the purchase of furniture and equipment to support the transition. The company will bring 66 existing jobs here, and through their growth hire an additional 50 – 60 new employees over the next ten years.
No existing businesses will be displaced or relocated as a result of this project. The loan is forgivable if certain conditions are met.

Housing projects moving ahead
Multi-family and mixed-use projects near University Avenue keep moving ahead. Indiana-based Scannell Properties May 2 won St. Paul Planning Commission approval for its conditional use permit and floor area ratio variance allowing additional building height and density for a six-story mixed use development at 441-443 N. Snelling Ave. in April, Wellington Management’s the Pitch won approvals for additional height, a floor area ratio variance and relocated drive-through lanes for its six-story development at 427 N. Snelling Ave.
A third project, Raymond Station at 2250-2264 University Ave., was also granted a conditional use permit for additional height in April. The projects reflect a growing trend of mixed-use, market-rate housing planned on and near University.
The Pitch is to be built on the Bremer Bank site. The bank will relocate while its new home is built. It will also include 13,000 square feet of retail for a new Bremer Bank, and possibly a Walgreens.
Scannell is building on the former Furniture Barn site, and plans a restaurant on its first floor. Both buildings will have below-ground parking.
Both Snelling projects are in the traditional neighborhoods 3 zoning district, where a height of 55 feet is allowed. The conditional use permits allow each building’s height to top 70 feet. Raymond Station will reach a height of seven feet in one section. Its University and Hampden avenues; site is also zoned for traditional neighborhoods 3 use.
All told, the three developments will bring about 250 new housing units to the area,

Lexington site eyed again?
Mixed-use redevelopment is eyed for a long-vacant Lexington Parkway property. Minneapolis-based developer Alatus LLC and about a dozen neighbors met with the Union Park District Council (UPDC) Land Use Committee in April to discuss ideas for 411-417 N. Lexington Parkway. The potential developers would like to shape their plans over the next few months. No timeline for development has been set.
Alatus has 15 years’ development experience, mostly in the Twin Cities. Its recent projects range from market-rate to affordable housing, including apartments in New Hope and 63 new affordable single-family homes in North Minneapolis.
“This is a very interesting area,” said Chris Osmundson, Alatus director of development. It is in Lexington-Hamline area of Union Park but borders Frogtown, Hamline-Midway and Summit-University. Area residents are a mix of ethnicities and economic backgrounds. It’s also part of the old Rondo neighborhood, a predominantly African-American neighborhood that was partially destroyed when Interstate 94 was built in the 1960s.
The 2.05-acre site is just south of TCF Bank and White Castle. It is owned by Wilder Foundation, which has its headquarters west of the property. A new development would finish the southwest corner of Lexington and University Avenue. The site was one home to the St. Paul Saints ballpark, but was redeveloped as a strip mall more than 50 years ago. High-profile battles were waged over redevelopment in the 1990s. Neighborhood groups called for a dense, mixed-use urban village. City officials saw the site as being ideal for big-box retail. It since has been redeveloped with an Aldi grocery store, TCF Bank, Wilder headquarters and an Episcopal Homes senior living building. One original retaining wall for the old ballpark is still in place.
Alatus is mulling the notion of a six-story mixed-use development, with first-floor commercial use and five stories of housing above. About 250 housing units in a mix of size options and an undetermined amount of structured parking spaces are planned. Prices haven’t been determined.
The property is zoned for traditional neighborhoods four use, which could allow heights of up to 75 feet, with additional height allowed through a conditional use permit process.
About a dozen site neighbors attended the meeting, as did a representative of the Aurora-St. Anthony Neighborhood Development Corporation (ASANDC). ASANDC has expressed interest in buying the parcel. Neighbors raised concerns about addition; a traffic and parking demand generated by the development. Those concerns will be discussed the month ahead.

City seeks grant funding
The St. Paul City Council April 24 approved a grant request for a Midway site that has long been eyed for redevelopment. Property at 1730 University Ave. and the former Ford Motor Company site in Highland were submitted to the Metropolitan Council, for consideration for possible Livable Communities Demonstration Account (LCDA) pre-development grants.
Then city has used various Livable Communities Development Grants for several years, and for projects all along Green Line light rail. Projects funded through the grant program have to meet certain criteria. The city has to apply for the grants on behalf of developers. In this case a developer hasn’t been named.
1730 University is a commercial building. It’s on a block with another small commercial property and two homes. The properties have been marketed as a group and are zoned for traditional neighborhoods 3 mixed-use redevelopment. The rezoning occurred several years ago as part of a larger rezoning project all along Green Line light rail.
A total of six parcels, comprising .46 acres, make up the site.

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Monitor In A Minute – May 2019

Posted on 12 May 2019 by Tesha Christensen

by Jane McClure

Convenience store is fined
An area convenience store must pay a $500 fine, as a result of St. Paul City Council action April 17. The council fined Midway Amoco BP, which is located at 1347 University Ave., and didn’t request a hearing or challenge the fine.
The fine stems from an incident in fall 2018. The city’s Department of Safety and Inspections (DSI) received a notice of seized contraband letter from the Minnesota Department of Revenue dated Nov. 13, 2018. State officials seized products at the store in September 2018. Flavored Babbo products were found to be offered for sale or held as inventory at the store, without an invoice from a licensed seller, and were seized as contraband under state law.
The city’s regulations allow for the city to take action of its own if such contraband is found. The city opted to assess a $500 fine.
Midway Amoco BP had until March 22 to challenge the fine or seek a hearing, either before the City Council or a legislative hearing officer, but chose not to do so.

Liquor laws are changed
Two of St. Paul’s remaining “blue laws” are no more, as a result of St. Paul City Council action April 17. Liquor can now be sold within 300 feet of religious institutions throughout the city. In the downtown area, liquor can be sold within 300 feet of a school. The sales apply to restaurants with on-sale liquor licenses and liquor stores.
The changes, which won unanimous City Council approval, strike down regulations that have been in place since the 1960s. Schools and places of worship have long had to the ability to veto on-sale liquor licenses or liquor stores that are within 300 feet of their locations. Requests made for licenses within the 300-foot zone also needed at least five of seven City Council votes for approval.
The changes didn’t draw public comment, and no one attended public hearings earlier in April to speak for or against the changes.
Ward Two Council Member Rebecca Noecker brought the changes forward. She said the changes and other regulatory issues she is working on will help make it easier for downtown businesses to operate.
Another change is one the city has to make. The liquor regulation centered on places of worship removes city legislative code language that has been found to be unconstitutional.
The changes came forward after a disagreement between the Gray Duck Tavern at Wabasha and Fourth St. and the St. Paul Conservatory for the Performing Arts, a charter school at 16 W. Fifth St. The liquor license for Gray Duck was approved in 2017 after an extensive building renovation. Charter school officials objected in December 2018, noting that they hadn’t been asked to weigh in on the matter. School officials asked the city to suspend liquor sales at the restaurant. The city declined to do so.
The school has operated at its downtown location since 2013. It is in the same building as the Pazzaluna restaurant and is within a short distance of other restaurants with liquor licenses.
The new regulations indicated that schools within the downtown business district will still be notified if a liquor license holder is moving in. Schools still can raise concerns about a liquor license.

Peace Park wins grant
The Midway Peace Park in Lexington-Hamline neighborhood will receive an additional $180,000 from Capitol Region Watershed District. The St. Paul City Council accepted the funding April 17. That bumps project funding up to $3.18 million.
The watershed district works with the city on issues including water runoff, drainage, rain gardens and other needs.
The park is located on the east side of Griggs St. between University and St. Anthony avenues. The park has been several years in the making and was originally proposed as a project by students at Gordon Parks High School. City officials have worked with the Trust for Public Land to purchase the property for transformation into a park. It was used as surplus parking space by Midway auto dealers for many years.
The park is near the Skyline Towers high-rise apartments, and near senior house owners and operated by Episcopal Homes. It is in an area that was eyed during Green Line light rail development for added green space.

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Print is not dead – but we are changing

Print is not dead – but we are changing

Posted on 12 May 2019 by Tesha Christensen

Too Much Coffee

By TESHA M. CHRISTENSEN, Tesha@MonitorSaintPaul.com

Print is dead, you say?
Nah. It’s just evolving.
A few months ago I attended the Minnesota Newspapers Association (MNA) annual convention, and listened to a speaker talk about just that. I was particularly interested in the topic as I was negotiating to purchase the Midway Como Monitor and Longfellow Nokomis Messenger from longtime owners Calvin deRuyter and Tim Nelson. Was I taking a leap into a dying industry?
After listening to Bill Ostendorf of Creative Circle Media Solutions, I was reassured. He’s spent his whole career in newspapers, and he doesn’t believe print is dead.
After 20 years in the industry, I don’t either.
Why am I convinced?
Well, they first started saying newspapers were going to die when radio got popular. But newspapers stuck around.
Then they said newspapers and radio couldn’t last when the television came out. Yet newspapers stayed and even thrived.
When the Internet got big, they were sure it was the final death knoll of newspapers, radio and television. Yet radios are still in every car, most people have one or more televisions in their house, and newspapers continue to print.
The thing is, people are reading now more than ever before. So the question isn’t whether people are reading, the question is are they going to read particular publications.
The questions those of us in the news industry need to be asking is why should people read our stuff instead of the myriad of information out there.
What makes us different?
What makes us worth reading?
What makes our editions important?
Those are the questions I’m committed to asking. I entered the field of journalism at the cusp of the Internet revolution. For those first few years, I called the local librarian to doublecheck my details. And then fact-checking things became much faster via Google. (Although with its own new set of accuracy questions.) I even did a few editions of cut and paste before we switched over to electronic layout with QuarkExpress.
As I ask others what they love about neighborhood newspapers, I have been thinking about what I value. I want to know what’s happening on my street, what development is going to change my neighborhood, and what fascinating things my neighbors are engaged in. I want to see photos of kids I know and congratulate them on their achievements, noting, “I saw you in the paper.” I want to hear the various sides of issues and wrestle over what the best solution will be in the long run. I want to learn what sparked the coffee shop and hardware store and secondhand boutique owners to open up shop, and hear what tips they have for other entrepreneurs.
The daily stuff of my neighborhood can’t be found anywhere but in the papers of my neighborhood newspaper.
That’s what I love about community journalism. I stay in this industry because I love local, I love to see people engaged, and I love to watch community being built. I appreciate the slice of life the pages of the Monitor offer each month.
I’m also excited to see how newspapers are being innovative and creative. It’s amazing to see the convergence of media – of print, TV, radio, audio, video, and more – coming together in to something new.
What will community newspapers look like in 10 years? I’m looking forward to finding out. I think that the answer lies in asking our readers what they want.
Bill Ostendorf encouraged all the reporters in the room at the MNA Convention (and his session was packed) to focus on being reader-centric. This starts with the basics of what we write in an article, how we shape it, and who we include in it. It also means focusing on writing really good headlines about people instead of things, and really interesting photo cutlines. Plus we need more break-out boxes and standout photos. Research has shown that people read headlines, cutlines and break-out boxes first – and they may or may not read the whole article.
Ostendorf advocated for content that is more engaging and more relevant. He encouraged designers to adopt modular layouts that are easier on the eyes. He encouraged sales staff to sell bigger ads that get attention and bring value to the readers.
Ostendorf reminded us that our print newspapers help people live better lives. The information within our pages informs and educates. It helps people make better decisions and be successful.
What do you want from the pages of the Monitor? I’d love to hear from you. Drop me a line at Tesha@MonitorSaintPaul.com.

 

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Light shows, scarves, Wonderwall: trip to Allianz Field

Posted on 12 May 2019 by Tesha Christensen

Building a Stronger Midway

By CHAD KULAS, Midway Chamber of Commerce Executive Director

 

The dream of Major League Soccer in the Midway, which only seemed like a fantasy four years ago, has become a reality. For those of us who have lived or worked in the neighborhood for years, Allianz Field looks like a spaceship descended upon our community. And a beautiful spaceship it is, especially when lit up. Whether in purple in Prince’s memory, red and green for Christmas, or its standard blue, the light show adds to the aesthetic.
The Minnesota United have now played three home games in Allianz Field. I was fortunate enough to attend the April 24 game against the LA Galaxy, but not fortunate enough to take part in the tradition of singing the Oasis song, “Wonderwall” after a United win (they tied their first two games before winning 1-0 over DC United).
Are you unsure if you like soccer? I never got into the sport until the Minnesota United, and while I still don’t know why a yellow card gets raised, the games are very fun. For low scoring affairs, the excitement is still off the charts, especially when your team scores a goal. The big soccer fans are unmatched in their enthusiasm, waving giant flags and banging drums in the fan section, but a first-time visitor will still have a great time. If you are skeptical, give it a try. The excitement is contagious.
Here are some observations if you decide to check it out.
There are things to do outside Allianz Field, so allow time to walk around the entire stadium, and then walk through the entire concourse. Walk into the Brew Hall, located north of the field. The Brew Hall is open Thursday-Sunday when there isn’t an event at Allianz Field, with non-game prices. It also stays open 1.5 hours after home games, so a great way to avoid traffic.
Another way to avoid post-game traffic is to stop by nearby restaurants and bars. If you can afford the time, a person is better off grabbing their last drink at the Black Hart or other bars before venturing to their vehicle or transit.
If you plan to come by car, the closest parking lots are $25. You can also take a shuttle bus from the State Fair, which charges $15 to park. I suspect more restaurants will use a shuttle service to get patrons to the game.
Transit may be the best way to get to the game. Cheaper than driving, Allianz Field is close to both the Green Line Light Rail Line and the A-Line Bus Rapid Transit – which ends up connecting to the Blue Line at Hiawatha and 46th St. So far, public transit is taking about 45 minutes to clear out after a game – typically larger events are considered good if the time is less than one hour.
Over the past few years, there has been a lot of thought going into Allianz Field. Would it actually get built? If so, would it be the best option for the old bus barn site from a community standpoint? Once it was a foregone conclusion, the talk turned to the details. What would the rest of the “superblock” look like? Would public funds be used for the development? What impact would it have on the neighborhood, both on game days and always?
The biggest concerns the Midway Chamber heard from both members and residents was parking and traffic – both strictly gameday concerns. With the United playing 17 home games a year and a handful of other larger events, traffic and parking are not regular problems occurring most days. Most games are also played on weekends, meaning games are rarely a concern for rush hour.
If you go, take notice of the neighborhood. Open Hands Midway, a nonprofit who can provide 28 meals for those in need with a $50 donation, is housed at Bethlehem Lutheran Church and will have hundreds if not thousands of fans walk by their door each game. Even organizations farther than walking distance will benefit from the thousands of fans coming from each direction as they drive by either by personal vehicle or transit.
I am thrilled the Midway will get to welcome 20,000 soccer fans 17 times at Allianz Field this year, college football fans for the Tommie-Johnnie game, and other events in the future. Our guests will support our local businesses and give many more added visibility and name recognition. Here’s to hoping we sing “Wonderwall” a lot in the Midway this year. Scarves all the way up!

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Picketers support Hamline University’s adjunct  faculty union

Picketers support Hamline University’s adjunct faculty union

Posted on 12 May 2019 by Tesha Christensen

Photo by Margie O’Loughlin

The Inter-Faculty Organization (IFO)is an organization that represents the interests of faculty at the seven Minnesota state universities. They held an informational picket at Hamline University on Thursday, May 2, 2019, to support the Hamline adjunct faculty union. Adjunct anthropology professor Marcia Regan said, “We are here because we believe in Hamline University. In inflation adjusted dollars, we are asking to get back to where we were in 2005. We haven’t had a raise in more than a decade. Adjunct professors are hired course by course. There are 91 adjunct professors teaching 128 courses at Hamline University this year. We represent 33% of the faculty faces that students see on campus.” More at www.hamlinetakesthelead.com. (Photo by Margie O’Loughlin)

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Eureka Recycling 14SmC

Eureka Recycling helps people recycle better

Posted on 12 May 2019 by Tesha Christensen

Facility designed for food and beverage containers – not extra stuff like hoses, plastic toys and fencing

Community engagement director Katrina Lund said, “It’s important to remember to reduce, re-use AND recycle.” (Photo by Margie O’Loughlin)

By MARGIE O’LOUGHLIN
Eureka Recycling is one of only a handful of non-profit recycling facilities across the country, and they’re a zero waste organization, too.
They process an average of 400 tons of recyclable materials from the Twin Cities metro area daily. Katrina Lund, director of community engagement, emphasized, “That’s 400 tons that aren’t being burned in incinerators every day.”
Their mission is to demonstrate that waste is preventable. This impacts the way they run their recycling program – everything from how they market their recyclables to how they pay their employees.
Located in Northeast Minneapolis, Eureka’s programs are designed to help individuals, organizations, and communities understand the significance of zero waste, and to provide the resources and education needed to achieve zero waste goals.
On Saturday, June 1, Eureka will host its first ever open house for St. Paul and Minneapolis residents from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Facility tours will be offered on the half hour during these times. Taking a tour helps people reckon with how huge quantities of recyclable material are collected, separated, and bundled – all at very high speeds.
In this time of change in the recycling industry, it’s important to understand what can and can’t be recycled in a MRF (materials recovery facility) like Eureka.
Co-president Lynn Hoffman said, “It’s pretty simple. We‘re designed to handle food and beverage containers, though we end up with all kinds of things like garden hoses, plastic toys, chain link fencing, and propane tanks.”
When St. Paul switched to single stream recycling a few years ago, the quantity of recyclables collected went up, but the quality went down.

Photo by Margie O’Loughlin

Hoffman and Lund made the following suggestions for people who want to recycle better:
• Do not put recyclables into plastic bags. Dump them directly into the blue cart.
• Make sure that containers being recycled are empty. Get them reasonably clean, too.
• Just because something is recyclable, doesn’t mean it’s recyclable in the blue cart. For example, plastic bags are recyclable – but not through Eureka. Search www.plasticfilmrecycling.org by zip code to learn where to bring them. CUB, Target and Walmart on University Ave. in the Midway are all drop-off spots for plastics such as product wrap, newspaper and bread bags, and more. The bins are located near the entrance of each store.
• Lithium batteries are now frequently embedded in greeting cards. The batteries are hazardous and should not be put in with recycling.
• Batteries, propane tanks, and electronics should be taken to a hazardous waste site.
• If there’s a choice between products packaged in plastic or glass, choose glass. Glass can be recycled infinitely; a plastic bottle will likely be turned into decking, and from there it can’t be recycled into anything else; plastic bottles can only be recycled once.
Lund explained that most of the trash collected in the Twin Cities ends up being burned in an incinerator in downtown Minneapolis. She said, “One of the myths in this industry is that incineration is cheaper than recycling. The real costs of incineration go well beyond a dollar amount. You have to figure in the invisible (and unknown) costs of asthma and other respiratory illnesses, carcinogens released into the air, and the effect on climate change.”
Hoffman concluded, “We have a consumption problem in this country. Forty-two percent of the CO2 emissions in the US come from the production, consumption, and disposal of consumer products. What can we do about that? Use less, be content with what you have, choose durable options. People get overwhelmed and think that their individual actions don’t add up – but they do.”
Eureka Recycling is located at 2828 Kennedy Street NE, Minneapolis 55413.There’s no need to RSVP for the open house, but you can reserve a spot for a specific tour time at www.eurekarecycling.org. Enjoy snacks and coffee (in compostable cups), and photo opportunities with bales of aluminum cans and mixed plastics. Public tours are also available each Wednesday at 9 a.m. by reservation.

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Allianz Field Neigbors Respond 08SmC

Is stadium a benefit to Hamline-Midway?

Posted on 12 May 2019 by Tesha Christensen

Residents have mixed views on effect of 20,000 soccer fans coming into neighborhood

Midway resident Jacob McGill said, “No one ever gave the neighbors the chance to vote on whether we wanted the stadium here. I hope they’ll at least consider helping us with the street maintenance we’ll need now, due to increased traffic.” (Photo by Margie O’Loughlin)

By MARGIE O’LOUGHLIN
Neighbors who live within a few blocks of Allianz Field are having to adjust to new levels of traffic on MNUFC game days. On the evening of Game II, April 24, people shared the following thoughts.
A neighbor at Sherburne and Simpson (who asked to remain anonymous) said, “My wife and I have lived here for 16 years. I love watching the people go by and seeing the action around the stadium on game days, but parking is a big problem for us. We don’t have a garage, and both my wife and I are handicapped. We have to park in front of our house. If we can’t get home in time to park in our parking spaces, we don’t have a place to park.”
Tina Sweesy, who lives three blocks away from Allianz Field, said, “The stadium hasn’t presented a big deal for us. I’m just glad the Super Block is starting to feel safer. I feel like, for 18 times/year, why not have people come and visit our neighborhood?”

Her 16-year-old daughter Emily added, “I just hope the development brings some nice restaurants into the neighborhood. When I want to hang out with my friends, we always go to Grand Ave. or Highland Park. It would be great to have better alternatives here in our neighborhood.”
Rebekah Rexius and her family are also near neighbors. She said, “We’re not happy with so many people parking in our neighborhood. It feels disrespectful, as we’re the ones who pay for street and sidewalk maintenance. We wonder if the team could offer an incentive for people taking public transportation, like a few bucks off concessions for showing an LRT or bus ticket?”
Jacob McGill and his family live just west of Snelling Avenue. He said, “I go to Central Baptist Church. We’re concerned about the 12:30 p.m. games on Sundays, and how people leaving church will get out of the neighborhood. We cancelled our choir practice tonight because there was a 7 p.m. kickoff, and we didn’t want choir members to get stuck in traffic. I’m not really complaining, but I am concerned. Our taxes are skyrocketing in this neighborhood, and I don’t see the benefit to the community yet of having the stadium here. All this extra traffic sure won’t help the condition of our streets either.”
A spokesperson for the MNUFC said fans were discouraged from parking in the neighborhood, but it was clear that many were anyhow. From a paragraph near the end of the MNUFC Transportation Plan, which can be found online: “Allianz Field is located just off Interstate 94 on a Minnesota commuter pipeline that connects Minneapolis and Saint Paul. Fans from across the state will be able to hop on the interstate and drive directly to Allianz Field. However, given the amount of pedestrian, bicycle and transit traffic around the stadium on game days, it is recommended that fans do their best to avoid driving directly to Allianz Field.”

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The Black Hart combines soccer, LGBTQ+ and neighborhood hangout

The Black Hart combines soccer, LGBTQ+ and neighborhood hangout

Posted on 12 May 2019 by Tesha Christensen

Town House Bar revamped by Midway resident and soccer fan as Minnesota United move into Allianz Stadium nearby

Wes Burdine purchased St. Paul’s oldest LGBTQ+ bar, the Town House Bar (1415 University Avenue West), four blocks from his house last year. He’s rebranded it by adding a soccer component as the Minnesota United FC move into the recently completed Allianz Field nearby. (Photo by Tesha M. Christensen)

By TESHA M. CHRISTENSEN
tesha@monitorsaintpaul.com
Wes Burdine felt like something was missing when he moved into the Midway area three years ago. It needed a neighborhood gathering place.
With Allianz Stadium going up, Burdine also believed that the Midway needed a soccer bar.
So one day he called up Holly Monnett, owner of St. Paul’s oldest LGBTQ+ bar, the Town House Bar (1415 University Ave. W.) four blocks from his house, and shared his idea with her.
“I want to take what exists in this bar and add soccer to it,” Burdine said.
She told him, “This is the phone call I’ve been waiting for,” Burdine recalled.
CULTURE YOU CAN’T RECREATE
The Town House began as a fine dining restaurant in the 1940s and stayed that way through the 1960s. In 1969, it was rebranded as a gay bar, albeit subtly. Monnett began working there in 1974, became manager in 1980, and bought the place in 1987.
The bar has been well-known for its burlesque and drag shows, as well as weekly karaoke and piano lounge.
“It has a culture that you can’t recreate from scratch,” observed Burdine.
And he didn’t want to. Rather, he wanted to build upon it and bring more people, both gay and straight, soccer fans and neighbors, through the door. “It is important to me to keep something that is really vibrant and interesting here,” said Burdine. “This is a great space where a lot of things have happened.”
TRIBAL SOCCER WORLD
His goal is to continue to serve the queer community and to offer a soccer bar that serves a distinct fan culture, one he knows through his work as a soccer writer, blogger, and podcaster.
Burdine is part of team that launched FiftyFive.One, an online magazine focused on soccer and its culture, that grew out of Northern Pitch in 2016. Its name comes from the average high temperature of Minnesota, and the site seeks to be the singular source for regular coverage of professional soccer in Minnesota.
“The soccer world is mostly ignored by the media. People like me took it upon ourselves to write about it the way we wanted to,” explained Burdine.
Through that work, Burdine is familiar with the Minnesota United, its owner and players, and its fans.
Located a thousand feet from the new Allianz Field, the Black Hart aims to be the new spiritual home for soccer in the Twin Cities, and a place to catch matches from around the world of soccer.
“Soccer culture is very niche and DIY,” remarked Burdine. “It’s a little bit tribal.”
Part of that means that soccer fans enjoy watching games together, and if a game isn’t on at Black Hart patrons are encouraged to just ask.
NOT GENTRIFYING BUT
FIXING IT UP
A year and a half ago, Burdine started asking people what they loved most about the bar and what else they might want to see there. Burdine didn’t make any quick changes as he got to know the regulars, and he hung onto the existing staff members. He knew as a cis-gender straight male buying a queer bar that he needed to listen first and use those ideas to shape what came next.
The Town House hadn’t been the only place he had considered purchasing in the Midway. At one point, a property owner had encouraged him to raise the prices and push people out in order to get the right kind of clientele.
That advice didn’t sit well with Burdine, who has no intention of gentrifying his neighborhood.
He appreciated The Town House and didn’t want anyone to feel uncomfortable there, although he had also identified some things that needed to be fixed and updated.
“This is a working class bar,” said Burdine.
Burdine officially took over on Aug. 31, 2018 and held a grand re-opening of The Black Hart, named for an iconic black-tailed deer at the heart of the Minnesota wilderness, on March 2, 2019.
With the help of a $100,000 Neighborhood Star matching grant, Burdine spruced up the place. He painted the outdoor of the building and the ceiling, installed new vinyl flooring, added some wallpaper, and put up new signage. There was also a great deal done that isn’t noticeable, such as electrical work.
He tried to buy the empty lot next door to build a patio, but the current owners seem to be hanging onto it until they can get $500,000 for it, Burdine remarked. All of the empty storefronts along University Ave. that have been purchased by out-of-state investors set on hanging onto them until the prices reach exorbitant amounts frustrates the neighborhood resident, and he’s working with local officials to do something about it.
Burdine also converted the former dart area into a seating space, and added a large window to bring in light. He added more craft beer and liquor options in response to patron suggestions.
A giant 143-inch screen and projector went in on the stage. It allows patrons to view soccer games and rolls away during drag shows.
Catch the longtime Pumps and Pearls show on Wednesdays, and other burlesque and drag shows on the weekends after 9:30 p.m.
There’s karaoke every Tuesday night beginning at 8:30 p.m. and again on Fridays in the lounge at 9 p.m. Sunday is Cheapie Night with free pool and darts after 8 p.m. Monday night is Trivia Night with Trivia Mafia.
Check the online calendar for which soccer games will be shown (www.blackhartstp.com).
Hours are Monday to Thursday, 3 p.m. to 1 a.m. Friday 3 p.m. to 2 a.m., Saturday noon to 2 a.m. and Sunday noon to 1 a.m. Black Hart opens at 9 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays August through May for European soccer games.
“The idea is to get to be the place of choice for Midway residents,“ said Burdine. “It’s not just the drag shows or the soccer. It’s their space, as well.”

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MN United Game I 001SmC

Neighborhood responds to game-day traffic

Posted on 12 May 2019 by Tesha Christensen

Some rent out driveways, others ask for residential permit parking districts

According to Allianz Field field general manager Justin Borrell, traffic flowed relatively smoothly on opening day. Similar to when an event is held at the Excel Energy Center, there were 40+ St. Paul police helping to manage traffic. Borrell said, “The number of police, fire, and emergency medical services employees did not affect the ability of these departments to respond to emergencies in other parts of the city.” (Photo by Margie O’Loughlin)

By Jane McClure
Allianz Field’s first few Major League Soccer games have had a mixed impact on surrounding neighborhoods, in terms of parking and traffic. Some neighbors are already seeking expanded or new residential permit parking districts, in response to people filling streets with parked vehicles. Others have decided to make a profit, signing up to rent out their off-street driveways or parking pads to soccer fans.
Pre and post-game periods have brought heavy motor vehicle traffic on arterial and neighborhood streets, with traffic tie-ups north and south of University Ave. But Minnesota United FC’s admonition to fans to walk, bike or use transit, shuttles, off-site paid parking lots for games apparently is being heeded. Buses and trains have carried full loads of passengers to and from games, with fans clearing out after games in about an hour.
Steve Linders, spokesperson for the St. Paul Police Department, said the first game went smoothly. Police, other city and team officials met to see what changes could be made before the second game April 24, 2019, and subsequent games
“The overall consensus was that the first game went well, considering it was the first time anyone had ever tried to move so many people into and out of the area at one time,” said Linders.
Parts of the traffic plan were changed after the experience April 13. A U-turn at Snelling and Shields avenues will be closed before and after games. Barricades for a HealthEast lot that is rented to game-goers were changed to deter traffic from entertaining the adjacent neighborhood onto Shields. St. Anthony was opened without restrictions east of Pascals Street to aid local business traffic.
For pedestrians, the police department will park a squad car with lights on before the Simpson-University crossing to help pedestrians cross the street. Pedestrian barricades were added along Spruce Tree Dr. and Fry St. to improve pedestrian safety.
Linders said the city and soccer team would continue to make adjustments as the season goes on.
The spillover parking has vexed some neighbors. Snelling-Hamline and Merriam Park residents south of the stadium have started the process to create or expand residential permit parking districts. Those requests will eventually wind up before the St. Paul City Council for a vote.
Snelling-Hamline residents wish to expand Area 8, which currently includes Iglehart and Carroll avenues between the Asbury Street-Snelling Ave. alley, and Asbury from Iglehart to Carroll. The change calls for permit parking on Concordia, Carroll and Iglehart from Asbury to Pascal St. This is one of the city’s oldest residential permit parking districts and was created in response to bus commuter park and rider spillover parking.
A second area would be a new residential permit parking district, calling for permit parking on Concordia Ave. from Pierce St. to Snelling, the north side of Carroll from Pierce St. to Fry St., Carroll from Fry to Snelling, east side of Pierce from Concordia to Carroll, and Fry from Concordia to Carroll.
More than 50 residents seeking permit parking attended a community meeting in April to seek the changes. One idea they liked is that of limiting permit parking to April through October, when soccer games are played.
“Everyone here is terrified that we’re going to get swamped with parking,” said Don Brabeck. He and his family live near Aldine Park. Neighbors are also hoping the park doesn’t become a pregame party spot.
Doni Hamann lives in the area where residents want a new residential permit parking district. She and other neighbors said their streets filled quickly with spillover parking during the ticketholders’ open house.
A check on parking and traffic before and after the first three games indicated that streets as far south as Ashland Ave. and up toward Thomas Ave. experienced game-day parking. Most area commercial parking lots were signed for no event parking or paid parking, with several businesses selling lot spaces.
New Midway Marketplace owners Kraus-Anderson sold spaces in the eastern part of their lot. Midway Super Target posted parking restrictions. The HealthEast lots didn’t appear to fill up, but there was strong demand for park and ride at the Minnesota State fairgrounds.
One problem seen was that of motorists stopping in the middle of Snelling Ave. to quickly let people out, causing traffic to back up. Those drivers got warnings from police to use designated drop-offs in Concordia Ave. instead.

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