Archive | August, 2019

New charter school in former Central Lutheran

New charter school in former Central Lutheran

Posted on 11 August 2019 by Tesha Christensen

Michelle Cambrice

Ten years in the making, a group of engaged educators will open a new charter school called The Journey School this fall.
The Journey School, which is currently accepting enrollment for students K-2, was the brainchild of long-time educators Michelle Cambrice and Scott Gostchock. Their goal was to make a positive difference in the community for children and families through a quality, caring, family-centered education and environment.
“Our dream to open a school where any student has the opportunity to succeed has become a reality, and we’re so excited to share our vision with the community,“ said Cambrice, who has been appointed as the school’s first diriector.
This dream garnered momentum when The Journey School leased the former Central Lutheran School building at 775 Lexington Parkway in St. Paul, which closed last year. The building has gone through renovations to prepare for opening in the fall.
“The Journey School is located in a diverse area where we can reach more children and provide resources,” Cambrice said. “Choosing the right school for a child is one of the most important decisions parents will make. At The Journey School, we will partner with parents and the communiity to equip each student with the knowledge and skillls necessary for their life-long journey of learning.”
In addition to offering dasses for students K-2, The Journey School has also partnered with Head Start to provide childcare.
The Journey School is hosting three open house events at the newly renovated building Aug. 10, 17 and 24. All open house events are from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Families are welcome to, tour the new school, get to know the staff and school board, and enroll their student(s).
Learn more by calling 612-389-1579 or browse www.thejourneyschool.org.

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Como FFA

Como High: Gibson Foundation, cooking in Paris, FFA, and swimmers on MPR

Posted on 11 August 2019 by Tesha Christensen

Ms. Gbolo in Paris

Hope Heals camps

Como staff members Mr. Donnell Gibson and Ms. Kristy Pierce have successfully expanded a thriving summer program to serve St. Paul students and alumni. The Gibson Foundation is going strong in its fourth summer, running the Hope Heals basketball camps and hosting an inaugural tournament at the St. Bernard’s gym.
Over 60 boys and girls, ages 6-13, attend camp sessions at Arlington Hills Rec Center. They meet twice a week for the course of six weeks. One hundred-forty high school students and St. Paul college-age alumni meet at Washington Technology Magnet for free play, socializing, and check-ins with Gibson Foundation leaders and community supporters. The multi-age grouping lends itself to mentoring as high school students learn what it takes to study and play at the next level.
Other program leaders include Ronnie Smith (new Como girls assistant coach), Shawn Phillips (Como boys j.v. coach), and Olanda England (Como staff and girls j.v. coach). Como alum Louis Carter is the lead coach for the young age group, and current Como student Ronnie Porter also mentors the youngsters.

Culinary arts institute
Como teacher Ms. Courtney Gbolo traveled to Paris, France to take classes at Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Arts Institute from July 20-Aug, 5. Gbolo earned a grant through the St. Paul Fund for Teachers that sponsored her travel and study.
Gbolo’s classes at Le Cordon Bleu included The Art of Cooking Like A Chef, The Secrets of Choux Pastry, Tart Making, Bread Making, Sauces, and Pastry Art. Gbolo says she’s been energized by the hands-on curriculum and is extremely grateful for the opportunity that was made possible by the St. Paul Foundation.
Looking ahead to the school year, Gbolo is eager to incorporate ideas and recipes from her summer learning and share her passion with Como students in her Culinary Arts classes and Culinary Club.

Como FFA

Future farmers
Students from Como Park’s Future Farmers of America (FFA) helped with the “Farmer for the Day” exhibit at the Ramsey County Fair in July. The students taught young children about agricultural products made in Minnesota.

Swimmers on MPR
Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) produced a well-received feature story about competitive swimming, wrapped into historical patterns of participation. The subjects of the feature were Como teacher Justin Mann, and Como student Aaron Ramsey.
Mann teaches social studies and is the assistant boys’ swim coach. Ramsey will be a junior and is a varsity swimmer. They are two examples of leaders who are “broadening the circle” and raising awareness that swimming is a skill and activity available for all.
Both were interviewed for radio and digital print features, and filmed for the social media links and videos that MPR produced. Ramsey said that swimming used to cause him some fear and anxiety, but he’s gained confidence through competitive swimming. “I feel at home in the water. I’m always itching to get back in the water. And I’ve decided to become a lifeguard and help people,” Ramsey said.

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Do’s and don’ts during the State Fair

Do’s and don’ts during the State Fair

Posted on 11 August 2019 by Tesha Christensen

By MICHAEL KUCHTA, Executive Director, district10@district10comopark.org

Do’s and don’ts during fair
The Minnesota State Fair runs Aug. 22-Sept. 2. Some residents can’t wait. Some residents can’t wait to get out. To get up to date (or take a refresher course) on what is and is not allowed in the neighborhood during the Fair, see the “State Fair Do’s and Don’ts” article on District 10’s website. It covers the special chaos that is fair time in Como: yard parking, street parking, peddlers, vendors, signs, and more. Go to: www.district10comopark.org.

Commissioner to speak
Ramsey County Commissioner Trista MatasCastillo will be the guest presenter at the Aug. 20 Como Community Council board meeting. She’ll give updates on local issues, and answer residents’ questions. The meeting begins Tuesday Aug. 20 at 7 p.m. at the Como Park Streetcar Station, which is at the northeast corner of Lexington and Horton. All renters, homeowners, and other community members are welcome to attend and participate. If technology cooperates, we’ll also stream the meeting live on the Como Community Council Facebook page.

Upcoming District 10 meetings
•Environment Committee: Wednesday Aug. 14.
• Neighborhood Relations Committee: Tuesday Sept. 3
•Land Use Committee: Wednesday Sept. 4

All meetings typically begin at 7 p.m. at the Como Park Streetcar Station, which is at the northeast corner of Lexington and Horton. Renters, homeowners, and other community members are always welcome to attend and participate. Whenever possible, agendas are posted in advance in the “Board News” section of District 10’s website.

Community Yoga is Sept. 8
District 10’s next Community Yoga is Sunday Sept. 8 from 9:30-10:30 a.m. at the Como Park Streetcar Station. The session will be suitable for all levels of skill and experience. Bring a yoga mat or blanket and wear comfortable clothes. The class is limited to 25 participants.
Registration is $5, which benefits the Como Community Council. Register in advance at: www.district10comopark.org/communityyoga.html

Streetcar Station open Sundays
The Como Park Streetcar Station is open every Sunday through Oct. 6 from noon-4 p.m. It is a great chance to introduce yourself to the long-gone trolley system in the Twin Cities, to get a sense of the history and visionaries behind Como Park (and the Twin Cities’ overall park system), to pick up organics recycling bags or kitchen starter kits, or just to chat with a District 10 board member who is staffing the day. The Historic Streetcar Station is at the northeast corner of Lexington and Horton.

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Community August 2019

Posted on 11 August 2019 by Tesha Christensen

Dragonflies Nature Survey Walk Aug. 10
Attend a Dragonflies Nature Survey Walk documenting species in Como Woodland on Saturday, Aug. 10, 9 a.m. at the Kilmer Fireplace, 1221 Wynne Ave (SW Como Park). Britt Forsberg, Minnesota Bee Atlas Coordinator with the University of Minnesota Extension and longtime Como Woodland Advisor, will return to lead this free two-hour event. RSVP with committee chairperson: teri.heyer@gmail.com.


Butterfly release at Our Lady of Peace
Close to 400 people will gather Thursday, Aug. 15, 4-5:30 p.m. in the gardens at Our Lady of Peace Hospice in Saint Paul (2076 St. Anthony Ave.) to release monarch butterflies in memory of their loved ones during an annual celebration of remembrance. This beautiful event brings together family and friends who have had a loved one cared for in the Our Lady of Peace hospice home or through the Our Lady of Peace community hospice.

Beat that drum
Women’s Drum Center, 2242 University Ave., will offer a class in hand drums for beginners on August 13, 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. The cost is $10. Drums are provided. Visit womensdrumcenter.org.

Reading volunteers needed at school
Chelsea Heights Elementary, located at the intersection of Hamline and Hoyt, is looking for Reading Volunteers for the 2019-2020 school year. Reading Volunteers choose one day a week, Mondays-Thursdays from 8:15-9 a.m., to read one on one with students from 1st-3rd grade for 15 minutes. “We provide the books, the students, and the coffee,” said organizers. Contact Maura Thompson at maura.thompson@spps.org or call Chelsea Heights at 651-293-8790. The new season begins the week of Oct 1.

Racial Equity forum for musicians set
The American Composers Forum will hold the 2019 Racial Equity and Inclusion Forum, a convening of artists, administrators, and advocates to discuss racially inclusive and equitable opportunities for creative musicians on Sept. 7, 2019 at Twin Cities Public Television (TPT), 172 E Fourth St, St. Paul. The forum is free and open to the public, but due to space limitations, RSVP’s are strongly encouraged. A livestream of the forum will be simultaneously available on the TPT website and ACF Facebook page. More at www.composersforum.org.

Applications due Aug. 12 for MPCA group
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) is looking to recruit Minnesotans left out of environmental discussions to apply to be in the Environmental Justice Advisory Group. The group advises the MPCA Commissioner, Laura Bishop, on implementation of the agency’s environmental justice framework, provides feedback on its effectiveness, and offer suggestions for future improvements. Applications are due Monday, Aug. 12. More at https://www.pca.state.mn.us/about-mpca/mpca-environmental-justice-advisory-group.

Greek summer festival Aug. 17-18
This summer, experience a weekend getaway to Greece without leaving Minnesota at the St. George’s Greek Summer Festival in St. Paul. Come and enjoy fresh baked Moussaka, Gyros, Lamb, Pork, and Chicken Souvlaki Dinners, Flaming Cheese (OPA!!!), and delectable Greek Pastries! Learn to dance Greek with the Greek Dancers of Minnesota, have fun with games for kids, and tour the beautiful sanctuary of St. George Greek Orthodox Church (1111 Summit Ave.), Aug. 17, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. and August 18, 11 a.m.-6 p.m., rain or shine with free admission. For more information and to purchase pre-sale food tickets, visit: www.stgeorgegoc.org.

Events at St. Thomas
The student-run Farmers’ Market is back every Friday through Aug. 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., on Monahan Plaza south of the football field at St. Thomas. Attend NeighborFest on Thursday, Aug. 15, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., on Monahan Plaza. Expect familiar fun and new surprises. More at https://www.stthomas.edu/neighbors/events/neighborfest-2019.html.

Booksigning Sept. 3 for new Krueger book
Get a copy of local author Kent Krueger’s brand new book, “This Tender Land,” on Sept. 3 during a book signing at Once upon a Crime, 604 E. 26th St., Minneapolis, at 7 p.m. This will be followed by a book signing in Stillwater, hitting the road for 10 days and then returning for more local events.



Jody’s Documentary Series – Wednesday Aug. 28, 1 p.m. at Hamline Midway Library (1558 W.t Minnehaha)
Join us to view documentaries with discussion after, refreshments provided. This month’s film (55 minutes): Farmsteaders (see our website for film descriptions www.hmelders.org/events.html)
Knitting & Crochet Group – Mondays from 1 to 3 p.m. (ongoing) at Hamline Church United Methodist
Hamline Midway Elders provides the yarn and needles along with some light snacks. The group meets weekly throughout the year to work on projects, such as shawls or scarves that are donated to those in need. New participants are always welcome.
Monthly Luncheons – Second Tuesday of each month, 11:30 a.m.–1 p.m., at St. Stephanus Lutheran Church, 739 Lafond Ave.
Erik Hendrickson will prepare a wonderful meal, blood pressure checks will be provided, and new attendees are always welcome at our “Second Tuesday” luncheon events. Suggested donation $7.
• Aug, 13 “Senior Snippets” with book giveaway hosted by Green Books
• Sept. 10 “Hamline University Music Opportunities” with Silvester Vicic, Director of Sundin Music Hall



Programs for families and kids
Preschool Storytimes in English happen Fridays from 10:30-11 AM, with upcoming storytimes on Aug. 9, 16, and 23 and Sept. 6. Storytimes feature stories, songs, puppets, and more. They’re a great way for caregivers to bond with children and build social skills, listening comprehension, and letter and number recognition while creating a solid foundation for lifelong learning. Children of all activity levels are welcome!
On Saturday, Aug. 17 from 3-4 p.m., the Summer Spark program presents the Brodini Comedy Magic Show, a kid-friendly comedy magic show with plenty of audience participation.
The Summer Spark program challenges kids and youth ages 0-18 to have fun, stay active, and keep learning all summer. Kids and teens can attend free programs at the library and earn prizes by completing reading and activity challenges. Talk to a librarian or go to https://sppl.org/summer-spark/ for more information.
On Wednesday, Aug. 21 from 6-7 p.m., the new Local Voices program will host renowned children’s author Heather Bouwman, who’ll read from her newest fantasy adventure “A Tear in the Ocean.” Bouwman will be joined by Carrie Pomeroy, who will read from her narrative nonfiction book about silent film pioneer Mary Pickford and the early days of Hollywood, and illustrator Elizabeth Crawford, who uses photos of small-scale characters to elicit the power of imaginative and dramatic play for young people. All three presenters are members of the local homeschool community and will discuss the relationship between homeschooling and their creative processes.

Club Gathers for mysteries
The Saints and Sinners Mystery Book Club meets on Saturday, September 7, 1-2 PM, to discuss good mystery novels. This month’s book is Connie Archer’s A Spoonful of Murder. Contact volunteer G. Balter for more information at gerribalter@gmail.com or 651-224-5570.

Closed for Labor Day weekend
All St. Paul Libraries will be closed Aug. 31-Sept. 2 in honor of the Labor Day holiday weekend.

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Writing about environmental issues

Writing about environmental issues

Posted on 11 August 2019 by Tesha Christensen

by Margie O’Loughlin

Margie O’Loughlin

I’ve worked as a reporter for the Longfellow Nokomis Messenger and Midway Como Monitor since 2015. I came into the job with a fledgling interest in community activism, a 20+ year career as a photographer, and a life-long love affair with newspapers.
As the years have passed, one topic has grown in importance for me as a reporter. I’m grateful that our new owner/publisher, Tesha Christensen, has let me take ownership of a few pages in each issue of both papers – and dedicate them to environmental stories happening close to home. We’ve dubbed these pages RRR, which stands for Rebuild, Repair, and Recycle, and we hope they’ll keep you informed about ways your neighbors are taking action.
Minnesota is one of the more aggressive states nation-wide in its efforts to replace fossil fuels with renewable energy, and many other initiatives. In this time of growing concern over the climate crisis, we want our newspapers to be an intelligent, clear-thinking, and practical resource. Are you trying out a new idea or product in your home that you think our readers might want to hear about? Let us know!
I’ve gone on two public tours recently that have strengthened my commitment to writing about environmental issues: at Eureka Recycling in Northeast Minneapolis, and the Hennepin County Energy Recovery Center in Downtown Minneapolis. Seeing mountains of recyclable materials and waste in these facilities was convicting, to say the least. I stopped thinking in a theoretical way about the amount of waste my own small household produces, and vowed to make better choices for the environment. Both tours are open to the public, with a little advance planning, and are offered free of charge. Check out these websites to learn more or to sign up:
• www.eurekarecycling.org/tours
• www.hennepin.us/your-government/facilities/herc-tour-request-form
I just completed the Climate Reality Leadership Training held at the Minneapolis Convention Center Aug. 2-4, hosted by founder and former vice president Al Gore. There were 1,400 people in attendance from 32 countries around the world. Participants ranged in age from 13-86, and we’ve now joined the ranks of more than 20,000 trained Climate Reality leaders worldwide.
Within one year of completing the training, graduates are required to perform 10 acts of climate leadership. These acts can be anything from giving a formal presentation, to writing a blog post, to submitting a letter to the editor, to organizing a climate action campaign, to meeting with local community leaders.
My main act of leadership in 2019 will be working as an artist –in-residence at Eureka Recycling this fall. I’m offering a quilting workshop there on Nov. 2, and will create three wall hangings for Eureka’s education space – with the help of 15 community participants. The cost of admission to the workshop is one cotton garment that would otherwise be destined for the trash. We’ll talk about the growing problem of textiles in the waste stream, due to fast fashion (on the production side) and overconsumption (on the consumer side.)
This summer, my husband and I are trying to live plastic free, which has been eye-opening and, in some ways, kind of fun. I’ve discovered the best milk I’ve ever tasted, produced by Autumn Wood Farms of Forest Lake. It’s available in half gallon glass bottles at Oxendale’s Market in East Nokomis, and the Mississippi Market Co-op in St. Paul. My husband came home from PetCo in Highland Park last week, proudly carrying a re-fillable 30-pound plastic pail of cat litter. We’re learning about all kinds of new products, including tooth powder from the bulk bin at Tare Market (to avoid tooth paste packaged in non-recyclable tubes.) Who knew?
If there’s one thing I came away from the Climate Reality training with, it’s this. Dr. Jonathan Doyle, founder and CEO of the non-profit Project Drawdown, said, “We have to solve the climate crisis with our heads and with our hearts. But, especially, we have to solve it with our hands.” I believe there’s a way for every one of us to make a positive contribution to this movement, according to our circumstances.
I look forward to sharing what I learn along the way.

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Go ‘Around the World’ in the Midway

Posted on 11 August 2019 by Tesha Christensen

by Chad Kulas, Midway Chamber of Commerce

Before the Green Line opened in 2014, supporters of the transit line said it could take you “around the world in 11 miles”– a reference to the distance of the Green Line, spanning downtown Saint Paul to downtown Minneapolis by way of University Ave., and to the many different types of cuisine found along the way.
Have you ever noticed how many great restaurants we have in or close to the Midway? And how many different cultures are represented in the dishes at those restaurants? At the Midway Chamber, we hold an annual event where 15-20 restaurants give samples of a popular dish – a great way to try something new without much commitment.
Cuisine from different parts of the globe along University Ave. include Greek (The Best Steak House, The Naughty Greek), Ethiopian (Bole, Demera, Fasika), Mexican (Homi, Los Ocampo) and Italian (Caffe Biaggio). But the most common cuisines are represented by several Asian cultures – Cambodian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Thai and Vietnamese are all represented. If you’re looking for a fun food-related contest, sample the pho from different Vietnamese restaurants and see which you like best. Or wontons. Or spring rolls.
A lot of the success of University Ave. (both restaurants and other companies) can be attributed to immigrants.
New American Economy, a bipartisan research and immigration advocacy organization, creates Map the Impact, an interactive map which helps explain data about immigrants from a federal level down to Congressional districts. In 2017, about 3.2 million immigrants owned a business, totaling about 20 percent of all business in the United States. According to a 2016 National Restaurant Association study, 29 percent of restaurant and hospitality businesses were owned by an immigrant compared to 14 percent of all businesses in the United States.
Map the Impact states 20,413 immigrant entrepreneurs reside in the metro area (2017 statistic). No doubt immigrants help the economy in our country, and the Midway is a shining example.
A few years ago I was living in Frogtown and made a New Year’s resolution to try a new restaurant in or near my neighborhood every month (this is the kind of food-related resolution more people should attempt!). Making this resolution means you are supporting the local economy and exposing yourself to new restaurants – and possibly new cultures and cuisines.
We are lucky to live in a neighborhood with so many unique food options – make a point soon to try at least one restaurant you haven’t been to yet!

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Minnesota United goes unbeaten for July in MLS action

Posted on 11 August 2019 by Tesha Christensen

Minnesota United goes unbeaten for July in MLS action
By Matthew Davis
Minnesota United had its way with MLS teams in July.
The Loons (10-7-5) went 5-0-2 against MLS competition that month as the lone loss came against English Premier League squad Aston Villa in a friendly July 17 at Allianz Field in St. Paul. The unbeaten month helped the Loons stay strong in the playoff race at fifth in the Western Conference through July 27.
“It’s been an accumulation of a lot of things but mainly hard work and belief in what they’re trying to do,” Loons coach Adrian Heath said about the recent success following a July 15 win over FC Dallas, one of the biggest wins of the month.
Minnesota United entered July fresh off its biggest blowout win in the franchise’s MLS history. The Loons beat Cincinnati 7-1 June 28 behind goals from six different players. Defender Ike Opara led the Loons with two goals.
Minnesota United picked up where it left off July 3 in a 3-1 win over the San Jose Earthquakes. Loons midfielder Darwin Quintero got things going with a goal in the fifth minute. Midfielders Ethan Finlay and Miguel Ibarra assisted on the goal.
Earthquakes defender Tommy Thompson evened things up late in the first half with a game-tying goal unassisted.
Minnesota United answered early in the second half with a goal by defender Michael Boxall. Loons midfielder Kevin Molino gave his team some distance from the Earthquakes with a goal in the final minutes of the game for a 3-1 lead. Opara and forward Mason Toye assisted on the score.
The Loons kept the winning streak going with two unanswered goals at Montreal July 6 in a 3-2 victory. Finlay scored on a penalty kick to tie the game 2-2, and Toye scored the game-winner off an assist from Molino. Toye and Molino also connected on the Loons’ first goal of the game.
Angelo Rodriguez made things a little more comfortable for the Loons with a hat trick against the New Mexico United in a 6-1 win July 10. The Loons forward tied the game in the 10th minute on an assist from defender Hassani Dotson. Rodriguez and company rolled from there.
“Obviously, very happy because as a forward, I always want to score goals let alone a hat trick,” Rodriguez said after the game.
He scored again in the 18th minute with an assist from midfielder Jan Gregus. Rodriguez scored this third goal in the 45th minute unassisted. Quintero and Ibarra also scored goals unassisted.
Toye had the lone goal for the Loons in a July 13 win over FC Dallas, which came in the final minutes of the game. It extended the Loons’ winning streak to five games.
Minnesota United couldn’t keep its success going against Austin Villa in a 3-0 loss July 17. The Loons returned to MLS action July 20 with a 1-1 tie at Real Salt Lake. Quintero put the Loons ahead 1-0 in the 57th minute on assists from Toye and Gregus, but Real Salt Lake rallied to tie in the 70th minute with a goal from defender Marcelo Silva.
The Loons took another tie, 0-0, against Vancouver at home July 27. Loons goalkeeper Vito Mannone earned a spot on the MLS Team of the Week with his clean sheet performance, a shutout with five saves. He also helped the Loons sustain the unbeaten month with six saves against FC Dallas, seven against San Jose and four against Montreal. He needed only two saves against Real Salt Lake to preserve the 1-1 tie.
“We look at the positives (and) we have to focus on the next two months because it’s a long way to go,” Mannone said after the tie with Vancouver. “Still 12 games to go, and it’s important not to lose these kinds of games.”

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Monitor In A Minute August 2019

Posted on 11 August 2019 by Tesha Christensen

by Jane McClure

Midway Amoco faces sanctions
A Hamline-Midway convenience store faces sanctions for selling flavored tobacco products in violation of city regulations. The St. Paul City Council July 24 took action against the tobacco license held by Midway University & Hamline LLC d/b/a Midway Amoco BP, 1347 University Ave. W. but the store owners requested a hearing, so that decision was rescinded Aug. 7.
The business has a troubled past, including incidents of violence, a fatal shooting and license violations.
Ward Four Council Member Mitra Jalali Nelson brought in the request for sanctions, which date from a November 2018 inspection by the Minnesota Department of Revenue. State officials found flavored tobacco products, which cannot be sold in St. Paul convenience stores. The city’s Department of Safety and Inspections (DSI) then stepped in.
The business owners disputed the finds and requested that city officials hold a legislative hearing, which was done. But the owners didn’t attend the scheduled hearing, so DSI staff sought a default judgment. The administrative law judge who handled the case issued findings and ordered a $500 penalty, but that penalty is now rescinded.

Dwelling wins needed change
A Hamline-Midway dwelling can continue to be used as a triplex, with St. Paul Planning Commission approval of a nonconforming use permit. Andrew Newby, who recently purchased 1614 Hewitt Ave., sought the change. The building had three leases when he purchased it last year.
The property was built as a duplex and has a long history of building improvement, but not all may have been issued city permits under past owners. The building has been used as a triplex since at least 2004.
The Planning Commission reviewed the issue and approved the change July 11, on recommendation of its Zoning Committee., Hamline Midway Coalition also recommended approval.
A nonconforming use permit allows the triplex use to continue. The Planning Commission found that rezoning the property for triplex use would constitute an illegal “spot” rezoning.
The nonconforming use permit is with the condition that the property go through a code compliance inspection, and that it be brought into compliance with all fire and building code requirements.
No one attended a Zoning Committee public hearing or sent letters in opposition to the change.

Community benefits plan takes shape
A long-awaited plan to create a community benefits fund tied to Allianz Field and redevelopment at Midway Center continues to take shape. Since 2016, Hamline Midway Coalition and Union Park District Council (UPDC) have worked with city leaders, Minnesota United FC and area businesses and property owners to develop the Neighbors United Funding Collaborative.
Leaders of the district councils say the fund is now in a position to start actively soliciting donations.
The fund was one of many ideas discussed during planning for the stadium and shopping center redevelopment in 2015-2016. The St. Paul City Council in August 2016 passed a resolution creating a task force to explore the fund’s creation, at the same time it was working with the team on a lease package and other agreements tied to site development.
The task force began meeting in early 2017 and hosted a larger community event to discuss ideas in November 2018. In late June, City Council members Mitra Jalali Nelson and Dai Thao met with stakeholders and district council members to discuss the fund and next steps.
The community benefits fund came out of a larger council resolution introduced by Thao, which also included workforce goals for hiring of minority and women construction workers, ensuring ethnic food vendors were able to be at Allianz Field and involving small businesses in other aspects of stadium development.
Thao noted that the work isn’t done. “We’ve had many positive conversations with potential sponsors of this fund and I’m eager to report back,” he said.
The fund could support projects such as business façade improvements, a marketing campaign for area business and public art. “Placemaking” and wayfinding improvements are also among the ideas that floated to the top.
Those priorities were chosen from a long list of ideas generated by area residents and business owners. “The ideas really ran the gamut,” said Brandon Long, executive director of UPDC. About 900 responses were received, from an online survey and at meetings.
It will be a community advised fund, housed by the St. Paul Foundation. The fund will be governed by a neighborhood-based steering committee, with subcommittees handling project reviews, finance, and marketing and communication.
Grants from the fund are anticipated to be between $5,000 and $50,000.
Minnesota United FC will be a supporter, along with area businesses, industries and individuals. The team, hasn’t announced its level of support.
The fund has four donor levels. Supporters give $1 to $499. Neighbors give $500 to $4,999. Friends are donors at the $5,000 to $49,999 level. Partners would contribute $50,000 to $499,999. Pillars donate $500,000 and up.
Minnesota United FC’s four largest supporter groups in July announced their support of the Neighbors United Funding Collaborative and are using their gifts as a means of encouraging others to get involved. The clubs are Dark Clouds, True North Elite, Red Loons and Dark Gliteratti. The clubs haven’t determined what their individual gifts will be.
Contacts for the fund are brandon@unionparkdc.org or info@hamlinemidway.org

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PowerPoint Presentation

Alatus plans at Lexington and University, TCGIS, Met Council funds

Posted on 11 August 2019 by Tesha Christensen

by Jane McClure

Alatus plans meet mixed response
Two redevelopment plans for a vacant lot near Lexington Parkway and University Ave. would offer a six-story mixed-use building with a grocery store and east-west bicycle-pedestrian connection through the structure.
But Alatus LLC’s plans drew objections July 15 during a sometimes raucous meeting of the Union Park District Council (UPDC) land use committee. Several people criticized the project for a lack of affordable and family-friendly housing, saying it adds to the problems already seen due to gentrification.
Both plans call for a building where Lexington and Fuller Ave. intersect. Both plans offer about 21,000 square feet of space for a grocery store. The number of apartments, ranging from efficiencies to four-bedroom units, would be about 226. There would be about 180 parking spaces, underground and on the main level. Both plans also call for the building to have two outdoor amenity decks.
One plan calls for all market-rate apartments, as well as 5,000 square feet space for smaller community coworking or a business incubator space.
The second plan calls for what Alatus representatives describe as privately subsidized/affordable units, with six to 12 units allocated to people who meet income restrictions. But that plan calls for eliminating building features including the 5,000 square feet of community space, dropping energy-efficiency and technology features, eliminating resident transit passes and increasing rent for parking spaces.
About two dozen area residents attended the meeting, raising a range of objections to the project. Worries were voiced about increased traffic and parking demand, and potential home structural damage due to new construction. But most objections were about the proposed rents and the project’s lack of affordable housing.
But how much input district councils and neighborhood residents can have is limited. The project meets its underlying zoning and doesn’t need any variances. Nor is Alatus seeking any public subsidy. The developers hope to go through city site plan review during the third quarter of this year and start construction early in 2020. The district council could ask for a site plan review public hearing before the Planning Commission, but affordable housing isn’t an issue the commission can address under current city zoning regulations.
The development site is zoned for Traditional Neighborhoods 4 use, which is intended to provide for high-density, transit-oriented, pedestrian-friendly mixed-use development. The zoning was changed when property all along University was rezoned several years ago in anticipation of redevelopment spurred by Green Line light rail.
Chris Osmundson, director of development for Alatus, said the developers have struggled with balancing project costs and the wide range of issues neighbors have raised over the past few months. If the developers sought bonding or other types of affordable housing subsidies, that would push the project back at least one year. The site at 411 Lexington Parkway has been for sale for a decade, and at least three other proposed projects have failed.
Neighbors weren’t mollified, saying that too many projects are being built for newcomers and not for people who want to stay in the area. Some want senior housing, with others wanting to see units that are larger, yet affordable for families. Others asked why another grocery store is needed, when an Aldi store is nearby.
One red flag for UPDC committee members is how the market-rate rents would be structured, with the three and four-bedroom units rented by the bedroom rather than as a total unit. That’s more akin to student-oriented housing, instead of housing for families. Affordable family housing has been raised as an issue during the past three project meetings.
A four-bedroom unit would be $3,432 per month, with three bedrooms renting for $2,829. Two-bedroom units are $1,900 to $1,930, with efficiencies listed between $1,000 to $1,030.

Met Council awards funds
The Metropolitan Council July 24 awarded $3 million in grants that promote redevelopment and economic opportunity to five cities, through its Livable Communities program.
Pollution investigation and cleanup, and redevelopment grants were awarded.
Funds were awarded to five cities for 14 projects this funding round. The grant awards will help clean 27 acres, increasing the net tax base by $1.9 million, and encourage millions more in private investment.
“These grants will help create 1,000 jobs and support the development of more than 800 new homes, including 160 affordable homes, at a time when housing is so desperately needed in the region,” said Council Chair Nora Slawik.
441-453 Snelling Ave. is in line for $199,700 for environmental investigation, asbestos abatement, and soil remediation at a 0.6-acre site with three vacant buildings. The site will be redeveloped to include 134 market-rate apartments, three affordable apartments, and 7,000 square feet of retail space. Scannell Companies is the developer.
A Seeding Equitable Environmental Development (SEED) grant to promote redevelopment went to 1433 University Ave. The grant of $19,300 is for environmental assessment and related environmental oversight on a 0.4-acre site that’s being leased to nearby businesses for surface parking.

TCGIS receives bonding nod
The planned new Twin Cities German Immersion School, which has been the subject of a pitched battle over historic preservation, got a financial boost from the St. Paul City Council July 24. The council, acting $9 million in conduit lease revenue bonds.
The bonds will be used to build a new school at 1031 Como Ave. School officials and community members have clashed as to whether or not the historic St/. Andrew’s Church there should be torn down or remain in place. Demolition was to start the first week of August.
The school currently serves grade K through 8 with projected enrollment for fall 2019 of 593. In 2013, they acquired their current site at 1031 Como Ave. Planned is a three-story, 23,500 square foot addition for classrooms, special education instructional spaces, administrative offices, a gymnasium and cafeteria. The site plan also includes an expanded play area and underground infrastructure to manage storm water run-off from the building addition. The site plan is predicated on the removal of the existing church (St. Andrews) and east surface parking lot. The project is estimated to cost $7.41 million, and the current estimated bond principal amount is $6.455 million.
Construction of the project will commence immediately following the closing on the financing and will be completed late summer of 2020.
This is the second time that TCGIS has sought city assistance. In 2013, the HRA issued bonds for the school in the amount of $8.545 million, with $8.135 million still outstanding. The 2013 bonds were issued to finance the acquisition and construction/renovation of the school’s current facility and former church building.
The vote was 4-2, with council members Amy Brendmoen, Mitra Jalali Nelson, Dai Thao and Chris Tolbert in support, and Kassim Buseri and Jane Prince against.

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Neighbors mourn ‘senseless destruction’ of former Saint Andrew’s

Posted on 11 August 2019 by Tesha Christensen

Twin Cities German Immersion school to demolish church for three-story addition

“This is a day we hoped would never come,” stated Tom Goldstein during a rally on the steps of the former St. Andrew’s Church on Sunday, July 21, 2019.
While the group fighting to save the landmark from destruction received a temporary restraining order to block demolition from Ramsey County District Court Judge Jennifer L. Frisch on July 15, she also ordered the grassroots neighborhood group to come up with a $1.9 million bond by Monday, July 22 to compensate property owner Twin Cities German Immersion School (TCGIS) for what it says would be its damages associated with a construction delay.
The public charter school intends to erect a $7.4 million building on the site of the former church and its parking lot to accommodate additional students. Friends of Warrendale/Save Historic Saint Andrews (SHSA) argued that the Minnesota Environmental Rights Act prevents the destruction of historical resources.
A ruling on July 23 from the Minnesota Court of Appeals left the district court order standing.
SHSA was not able to raise the bond money – which preservationists termed “insurmountable” – and the city issued a demolition permit.
In protest, about 100 historic preservation supporters gathered on a Sunday afternoon outside the 92-year-old Romanesque building designed by the city’s first architect, Charles A. Hausler. Many of those there were former members at the church which was closed in 2011 and sold to TCGIS in 2013.
“I got involved because I think it’s a tragedy for elected officials to take so little interest in preserving history,” said Goldstein.
He added, “We have demonstrated that this church can be re-purposed.”
The school originally bought bonds of $8.5 million to renovate the buildings on site, including the former church sanctuary which it calls the AULA, and still owes most of the funds.

Demolition being funded by taxpayer money
“Demolition of St. Andrew’s will reverberate through the Como Warrendale community for many years to come,” observed preservationists in a statement released by SHSA, which has nominated the building for the National Historic Register. “The school’s claim that wiping out the heritage of the Italian and Hungarian immigrants who built this iconic church building is necessary for young children to immerse themselves in German language and culture will fall on deaf ears as the rancor caused by this unnecessary destruction lingers. That’s often the result of a tragic outcome that is completely avoidable.”
If it proceeds, the school “will be making the choice to wound this community that will never heal,” said Ward 7 Council member Jane Prince, who sidestepped tradition to speak out on an issue outside her district.
She expressed her hope that “sensible minds” would prevail.
Prince honored the city’s great preservationists who “helped us to be different than Minneapolis in this way,” and observed that the city’s historic structures help tell stories of St. Paul.
“The teardown of this building is happening with our property tax dollars,” said Prince.
She shared her belief that the historic Saint Andrew’s Church building could be reused.
Prince recalled how citizens stood in the way of a wrecking ball and saved the Landmark Center in 1972.
City Council President and Ward 5 resident Amy Brendmoen, who lives a few blocks from the school, has supported the TCGIS plan and spoke against historic designation in favor of what she views as a property rights issue.
The K-8 charter school intends to build a new 24,000-square-foot addition with classrooms, a gymnasium, cafeteria and individualized instruction rooms in the footprint of the former church structure. Plans are that it be completed for the 2020-2021 school year.
TCGIS obtained a demolition permit in early August from the city and expected the building tear-down to begin after Aug. 5. The city’s Housing and Redevelopment Authority (HRA) gave preliminary approval for up to $9 million in conduit revenue bonds that the school will use to fund the building replacement project, with a final vote scheduled for Aug. 14.
The school held a hastily planned open house on July 28 that was attended by about 100 people to say farewell to the building.
Meanwhile, protesters organized outside with signs that read, “Demolition does not heal a community.”
The next week, SHSA organized a protest at the Governor’s mansion on Aug. 3 and a candlelight vigil at St. Andrew’s on Aug. 4.
Father John Forliti has lived across the street for his entire life, and his dad moved to the neighborhood at age 14.
He doesn’t know what he’ll do when the demolition crew shows up.
“I’m not sure I’ll be able to stay in that house and watch it go,” Forliti said.

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