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Committee to review stadium parking, traffic

Committee to review stadium parking, traffic

Posted on 12 December 2019 by Tesha Christensen

Photo by Margie O’Loughlin

By Jane McClure
As the first season of Major League Soccer ends in St. Paul, Allianz Field neighbors are reviewing traffic and parking issues as well as potential changes. Ideas are raised with an eye toward improvements before games start in 2020.
Hamline Midway Coalition is looking at issues, with a discussion planned at its November Transportation Committee meeting.
Union Park District Council (UPDC) Transportation Committee members weighed in in September, with a discussion at its October board meeting about the University of St. Thomas-St. John’s University game Oct. 19. It was the first football game played at the new stadium.
Soccer, for its part, ended the regular season Sept. 29.
Area district councils have heard complaints about spillover parking and traffic. Hamline Midway Coalition Executive Director Kate Mudge said complaints have also been received about police not responding to calls about illegally parked vehicles. That’s an issue the district council will take up in November. Requests for residential permit parking are also expected to move ahead.

What happened this season
Pre and post-game periods resulted in heavy motor vehicle traffic on arterial and neighborhood streets, with traffic tie-ups north and south of University Ave. For the most part, a post-game rush meant that most fan were out of the area about an hour after games ended. Trains and buses have been full all season, and sidewalks filled with people walking to and from games.
Changes were made as the season went on to deter cut-through traffic in some locations, open business access to Midway Center and Midway Marketplace, and improve pedestrian safety along Snelling and University avenues. Changes were made to better direct pedestrians at Snelling and Spruce Tree Drive. Some temporary barriers around the stadium will be replaced next year with permanent structures and landscaping. Traffic on neighborhood streets won’t be affected.
Transit usage worked out as predicted, especially on Green Line light rail. Hallstrom said that use of the state fairgrounds for parking hasn’t panned out as predicted so use of that area for parking may be discontinued.
The city’s plans for parking and traffic control on game days worked well for the most part, said St. Paul Police Department Commander Kurt Hallstrom. Hallstrom, who was recently moved to the police department’s East District as a senior commander, agreed to continue working with West District police during the soccer season. Someone else will lead police-stadium efforts in 2020.

Committee being formed
Observations from 2019 will inform a planned advisory committee. Mayor Melvin Carter’s office recently asked the two district councils and other groups to appoint representatives to the Allianz Field Traffic Management Advisory Committee. The final stadium traffic mitigation plan, which was called for in a 2016 alternative urban areawide review or AUAR, included the establishment of the committee of public and private stadium stakeholders. The advisory committee is to make recommendations concerning potential modifications to the traffic management plans over time.
According to information from Carter’s office, the committee will work with Metro Transit to evaluate the feasibility of continued operation of Green Line LRT and A Line operations at peak frequencies or 10-minute headways through end-of-event departure periods, availability of three-car trains through end-of-event departures, and availability of supplemental and regular-route transit during stadium events. The group will look at how riders get on and off transit vehicles, and how travel patterns will change as the Midway Center site is redeveloped.
Ongoing traffic monitoring to watch traffic growth and operational issues, and suggestions for change could also come out of the advisory committee. The group will be charged with filing an annual report and recommendation for changes with city officials by Nov. 30 every year.
The group will be in place through the end of 2021. It will meet at least twice annually.
The 15-member group, which is to be appointed by Carter and approved by the City Council, will include representatives of police, public works and planning and economic development; Ramsey County Public Works, Metro Transit, Minnesota Department of Transportation, federal highway Administration, Minnesota United FC, Midway center owners RK Midway, Midway Chamber of Commerce, Hamline Midway Coalition, UPDC, a Ward One resident, a Ward Four resident and at at-large citizen appointment of the mayor to serve as group chairperson. The soccer team and Midway Center would each have two representatives; other entities would have one representative apiece on the group. The group would meet at least twice annually.

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Crowd rallies to support extending Midtown Greenway into St. Paul

Posted on 12 December 2019 by Tesha Christensen

Saint Paul Bicycle Coalition Co-Chair Andy Singer, who led the five-mile bike tour, shows riders the rail line (behind him) where the Greenway would be. “The Greenway is really important for providing this East-West connectivity,” he said. (Photo by Jill Boogren)

By JILL BOOGREN
More than 250 riders and supporters gathered at Lake Monster Brewing in St. Paul on Sept. 15 for the Sierra Club’s 24th annual bike tour and a community rally to extend the Midtown Greenway into St. Paul.
“We’re trying to keep the momentum going in our effort to extend the Greenway over the river and through St. Paul,” said Soren Jensen, executive director of the Midtown Greenway Coalition.
A feasibility study released in June found that the Short Line Bridge over the Mississippi River, where the Midtown Greenway currently ends in Minneapolis, could be rehabbed into something structurally sound that could accommodate bicyclists and pedestrians – even if the once-daily train left running to the ADM mill on Hiawatha Ave. continues. Its potential has galvanized people and organizations on both sides of the river who are eager to make this connection.
“On board are organizations representing tens of thousands of people,” said Jensen. “People are excited.”
In addition to creating a link from the heavily used Greenway in Minneapolis to St. Paul, its continuation would improve bike access to Allianz Field, the Minnesota United FC soccer stadium. Further, with St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter’s proposal in August to convert two (of four) lanes of motorized traffic on Ayd Mill Rd. to bike and pedestrian paths during its upcoming mill-and-overlay resurfacing project, it opens the possibility of creating a seamless bike route from the Midtown Greenway all the way to downtown St. Paul.
Alex Burns, chair of the Sierra Club’s Land Use and Transportation committee, spoke to the crowd assembled on the Lake Monster patio before the tour.
“How we develop, build and connect people and places has huge environmental consequences,” he said, naming transportation as the number one source of carbon emissions in the country, including in Minnesota. “This is a real plan. Transportation solutions have to be central to any plan to address the climate crisis.”
St. Paul City Council Member Mitra Jalali Nelson, who represents this area, said she was seeing just what it takes to get a bike lane in the city.
“Inertia has not been kind to what we care about changing,” she said. “I see piece by piece how you’re shaping our infrastructure.” More people riding means fewer people in single occupancy vehicles, she added.

East-west connectivity
Saint Paul Bicycle Coalition Co-Chair Andy Singer, who led the bike tour, spoke of the neighborhood’s transition from heavy industry to housing and light industry. The brewery itself, at 550 Vandalia St., is located in a building reflecting this mix.
“The Greenway is really important for providing this East-West connectivity,” he said.
The five-mile tour approximated the route of an extended Greenway, traveling from Lake Monster east to Allianz Field, then west toward the river and back. Several St. Paul officials rode along, including Chief Resilience Officer from the Mayor’s Office Russ Stark, Ramsey County Commissioner Trista MatasCastillo and Council Member Jalali Nelson. Riders experienced firsthand protected bikeways, a road marked with sharrows (streets painted with bike symbols indicating a bike route), and some quiet streets. But there were also some treacherous crossings, underscoring the need for infrastructure that allows people to safely ride.
At Allianz Field, participants heard from David Zeller, spokesperson for Minnesota United FC Soccer Supporters Dark Clouds. A bike commuter himself from the Hamline-Midway neighborhood, Zeller said Dark Clouds advocated for as much bike infrastructure as possible around the stadium, right down to permitting people to bring their helmets inside the stadium.
“We have the ear of the team,” he said.
Back at Lake Monster Brewing, Co-Founder Matt Zanetti said the greenway would roll right past his brewery, and its location – at the crossroads of two cities – could make this the most bike-friendly epicenter in the country.

A matter of equity
Commissioner MatasCastillo stressed the importance of improved infrastructure as a matter of equity and accommodating all abilities. She called for investing and prioritizing not just in striped lanes, but in protected bikeways.
“We know more women use the paths when they’re protected,” she said.
St. Paul City Council Member Dai Thau told the crowd he grew up in North Minneapolis and would bike to Minnehaha Falls, sometimes 2-3 people to a bike.
“There’s a joy about being on a bicycle, the wind is coming at you, you’re riding with your friends,” he said. As an Eagle Scout, he said improved bicycling was also a matter of environmental justice and that it is important to protect the environment and to have equitable transportation.
Council Member Thau also brought up Ayd Mill Rd., a portion of which is in the ward he represents. After hearing the mayor’s proposal, he had publicly expressed concern about reducing traffic lanes on the resurfaced road, calling for further study. He told rally goers he was surprised by the announcement and called for transparency in decision making.
“If we’re gonna make Ayd Mill Rd. work for everybody, let’s all be at the table,” he said.
Speaking next, Minneapolis City Council Member Cam Gordon said he was also surprised by the mayor’s announcement, but “My surprise became Woo HOO! Yeah! It’s about time!” This he yelled with a fist pump, to huge applause.
“It’s time we started thinking of it as the Twin Cities Greenway,” Council Member Gordon said. “Let’s connect it up.”
Chief Resilience Officer Stark reminded people that this proposal is “literally 20 years in the making,” the original idea for which was to make it a long linear park.
“Ayd Mill Rd. is the most studied road in St. Paul. We know exactly what will happen with Ayd Mill [with the proposed changes],” he said. “The road will still be able to carry lots of cars. It’ll also carry lots of bikes and pedestrians.”

A Boost for Electric Vehicles
Falling during National Drive Electric Week, the Bike Tour and Rally to Extend the Greenway featured an electric vehicle display that gave people a close look at more than a dozen zero emission electric vehicles on the market and the opportunity to talk with their owners.

Minnesota may soon see more options for purchasing electric cars. On Sept. 25, Governor Tim Walz announced that he has directed the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency to implement clean car standards which would require manufacturers to deliver passenger cars, trucks and SUVs that produce lower — as well as zero – emissions.
The new standards are intended to increase consumer choice in Minnesota by providing more access to vehicles with better fuel economy and by increasing the availability of used electric vehicles. According to Gov. Walz, initial estimates indicate that these two policies combined could reduce annual greenhouse gas emissions by two million tons by 2030.

Climate change threatens the very things that make Minnesota a great place to live, from our magnificent 10,000 lakes to our farmable land and clean air,” said Gov. Walz in a public statement. “If Washington won’t lead on climate, Minnesota will. That is why we are taking bold action to reduce carbon emissions in a way that increases car options, protects public health, creates jobs, and saves Minnesotans money at the pump.”

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MIDWAY PEACE PARK COMING SOON

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MIDWAY PEACE PARK COMING SOON

Posted on 12 December 2019 by Tesha Christensen

fter 10 years, Midway Peace Park is now under construction. Construction activities began late August and will continue until hard winter conditions, then resume next spring, with park opening approximately next summer. To celebrate this, a Park is Coming Party was held on Sept. 17, 2019, at Gordon Parks High School, with about 120 people in attendance. In lieu of a formal “groundbreaking,” this event allowed community members to celebrate with music, food, activities. The program highlighted many different voices expressing why they are excited about the new park. (Photo submitted)

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Manufacturing in the Midway

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Manufacturing in the Midway

Posted on 12 December 2019 by Tesha Christensen

Building a Stronger Midway

By CHAD KULAS, Midway Chamber of Commerce Executive Director
Oct. 1-7 was Minnesota Manufacturing week, and events were planned and celebrations occurred throughout the state in an effort to honor and raise awareness of the many products created in Minnesota. Historically, the Midway community has been one of the top homes for manufacturing in Saint Paul as well as the state. With a perfect space in the middle of the Twin Cities, the Midway was a natural spot for manufacturing. Having easy access to several rail lines helped get things started over 100 years ago, and many of the old buildings remain today (though many have been repurposed).
Today, the Griggs-Midway Building at the corner of Fairview and University is home to several organizations, nonprofit and for-profit alike. But when I worked there almost 20 years ago I was fascinated to realize it had once been a candy and cracker factory.
Last year, the Midway Chamber held an event at the newly renamed Prior Works Building. Originally built in the 1880s, the building has created agricultural equipment and was home for many years to Silgan Container and the American Can Company. Today it’s home to Flannel Jax’s, an axe-throwing event company; Blackstack Brewing and TrueStone Coffee; the part mini-golf course/part art exhibit Can Can Wonderland; and many more tenants who want to have their office in a creative space.
The Minnesota Chemical Building will be repurposed after spending over a century manufacturing soap products.
Vandalia Tower opened in the old King Koil Mattress site in 2015, with more space for creative offices, an event space, and yes, another taproom (Lake Monster Brewing).
But don’t think manufacturing is only a thing of the past in the Midway. In fact, parts of the Midway still contribute more to the city’s commercial and industrial tax base than anywhere. Salsa Lisa, a company started when its founder started selling her salsa at farmer’s markets, is now a national brand and located on Pelham. Deneen Pottery has been creating hand-thrown clay products since the 1970s and today employs over 80 workers on Endicott (in the same building as yet another taproom, Urban Growler). Two recent moves from other cities to the Midway’s Energy Park Drive are going to help increase our commercial/industrial numbers. MISCO, a company offering audio solutions, recently moved from Minneapolis; Alula, a company offering smart security solutions, moved from Hudson, Wis.
These companies are just a few examples of the innovative products still being manufactured in the Midway today. Manufacturing not only helps create jobs in our community, it also helps the city’s bottom line. A study conducted by the Saint Paul Port Authority states that industrial activity consumes only $0.60 to $0.70 in city services for every $1 in revenue it generates.
As you drive around our neighborhood, take note of the companies here creating jobs and products, and consider supporting local businesses. They do a lot for our economy and help make our neighborhood flourish.

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In Our Community October 2019

In Our Community October 2019

Posted on 12 December 2019 by Tesha Christensen

HMC Executive Director Kate Mudge and Community Organizer Melissa Michener staff the office at the Hamline Midway Library.

HMC hosts annual meeting Nov. 6

The Hamline Midway Coalition District Council —more commonly known as HMC— serves the community bounded by University Avenue, the BSNF rail line, Lexington Avenue, and Transfer Road.
HMC Executive Director Kate Mudge and Community Organizer Melissa Michener staff the office on the ground floor of the Hamline Midway Library. However, they spend more time out of the office, advocating for the neighborhood with officials, listening to residents’ concerns and talking with business owners. At least one night a week, one or both of them can be found in a meeting with community members who serve on the HMC Board of Directors or the Development, Transportation and Environment committees.
“The committees make decisions and then it’s up to Melissa and me to implement them with help from the community,” said Mudge in describing HMC’s operations.
On Tuesday, Nov. 6, Kate and Melissa will be hosting HMC’s Annual Meeting from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Kay Fredricks Room in the Klas Center at Hamline University. Last year over 90 people attended and learned about the work of HMC, met board members and heard from Ward 4 Councilmember Mitra Nelson.
This year, attendees will find out ways to get involved in their District Council and learn about a critical project for the coming year: creating the 10-year Neighborhood Plan for Hamline Midway.
“I look forward to letting residents know our accomplishments and celebrating our powerful, engaged, and diverse community,” said Mudge.
The HMC Annual Meeting is potluck and childcare will be provided. All are welcome to attend. More information can be found here: http://bit.ly/HMCMeeting

Concerts at Sundin
On Tuesday, Oc. 22 at 7:30 p.m., Keyboard Conversations with Jeffrey Siegel returns. This world-renowned piano virtuoso takes you behind the music with insightful commentary and masterful performances. This time it’s Music from the Far, Cold North – piano music from Scandinavia and Russia. Tickets are available online at hamline.edu/Keyboard1920. Adults are $28, Students are $13. Mention the Monitor at the door and receive a 25% discount.

The Musical Offering is a chamber group of musicians from the Minnesota, St. Paul Chamber and Minnesota Opera orchestras. Their first concert of the season is on Sunday Nov. 24 at 3 p.m. They will celebrate one of the 19th century’s greatest women musicians, Clara Schumann, along with music by Brahms and Kapustin. Tickets are available online at musicaloffering.org. Adults are $30, students $10. Mention the Monitor at the door and receive a 20% discount.

On Sunday, Nov. 17 at 3 p.m., gather at Sundin Music Hall for the Artaria String Quartet’s performances of three pieces: a quartet by Mozart, a quartet by Brahms and music by Twin Cities composer David Evan Thomas for soprano and string quartet, featuring the incomparable Maria Jette. Tickets are available online at hamline.edu/Artaria1920. $20 for adults and free to youth and students. An added bonus – buy your ticket at the door, mention Monitor and receive a $5 discount.

Sundin Music Hall at Hamline University is at 1531 Hewitt Ave. Box office number is 651-523-2459. Email sundinmusichall@hamline.edu.

 

Free training for SLQ
SQL Saturday returns to Saint Paul for the 2019 edition of the free training event on Saturday, Oct. 12 at Saint Paul College. SQL Saturday offers expert presentations on diverse topics like data management, business intelligence, cloud, analytics, architecture and much more. Sessions will run from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. There are six tracks featuring talks from 50 experts ranging from beginner to expert level. The event is free, but a hosted lunch can be purchased for $10. More at http://conference.technology/portfolio/sql-saturday-saint-paul/.

Help families in need
To help ensure more families in the community thrive during this time of year, Volunteer Services’ Family Sponsorship Program matches community sponsors with Ramsey County families in need. Families, individuals, groups and workplaces are invited to sponsor a family this holiday season. Sponsors get the opportunity to personally shop and wrap gifts for their matched family. Anyone interested in sponsoring a family should email humanservicesvolunteer@ramseycounty.us or call 651-266-4090 no later than Friday, Nov. 1.

‘Mary Magdalene’
The Theosophical Society offers a free screening of the new movie “Mary Magdalene” 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 28, in Room 330 of the Griggs-Midway Bldg., 1821 University Ave. W., St. Paul. This two-hour movie depicts the background of Mary and is based on the Gospel of Mary, considered one of the Gnostic Gospels. The sole woman among Jesus’ band of disciples, Mary defies prejudices of a patriarchal society as she undergoes a profound spiritual awakening and finds herself at the center of an earth-shaking historical moment. Refreshments. Requested donation. 651-235-6645.

ICT benefit set
Organized by Inner City Tennis’s Associate Board, Aces & Ales will support the no-charge outreach programming and provide scholarships for the fee-based programs. Each year, ICT reaches more than 6,000 youth in the Twin Cities metro area, providing tennis and life skills coaching and mentoring. The annual event with on-court games and activities will be Saturday, Nov. 9, 5-8 p.m. at Reed Sweatt Family Tennis Center, 4005 Nicollet Ave., Minneapolis.

Sauerkraut Supper
The annual Sauerkraut Supper hosted by the Men’s Club at St. Stephanus Lutheran Church, 739 Lafond Ave., will be held Saturday, Oct. 26, 5 to 7 p.m. at the church. Supper will include pork, potatoes, sauerkraut, green beans, bread and a homemade dessert, all served family style. This traditional dinner has been served at the church for more than 50 years. Cost is $10 for adults and $5 for children 12 and under. Tickets may be purchased on that day. Carry out is also available. For more information, call the church at 651-228-1436.

Community luncheon
The St. Timothy Lutheran Church invite all women to their Women’s Fall Event featuring the Rev. Angela Khabeb, associate pastor at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Minneapolis. Her topic will be “Beloved Community: What does it mean for us?” She is a pastor, writer, former missionary, wife and mother. The luncheon and speaker will be from noon to 2 p.m. on Nov. 9. Cost is $10 with reservations due Nov. 3. Contact St. Timothy Lutheran Church at 651-489-0336 or email sttims@usfamily.net, 1465 Victoria St. N. in St. Paul.

Chamber’s 100th birthday party
The Midway Chamber of Commerce is celebrating its 100th birthday with a party at Urban Growler Brewing. The event will occur Wednesday, Nov. 6 in the Barrel Room, 4-7 p.m. Attendees will get food and one beer for $15 in advance and $20 at the door. Urban Growler is creating unique menu options for both food and beer for the event, which is sponsored by 21st Century Bank. The Midway Chamber was founded in the fall of 1919 and currently has 360 members. Its mission is to build a stronger Midway.

‘Tim Miller’ shows
See Tim Miller residency shows at Hamline University’s Anne Simley Theater on Oct. 10 at 7:30 p.m. (solo performance of “Body in the O”) and Oct. 12, 7:30 p.m., (the devised piece, “Body Maps”). Tickets are free; however, seating is limited so contact the Box Office at 651-523-2905 or tickets@hamline.edu.

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Free fitness classes, fun at Defining You event

Free fitness classes, fun at Defining You event

Posted on 17 September 2019 by Tesha Christensen

Suzy Levi

Fall is in the air, and with the season of gathering here, St. Paul’s premier Pilates studio Defining You Pilates & Fitness announces a Fall Open House on Saturday, Oct. 5, 2019. It will include free classes, fun giveaways, community goodwill, snacks, studio tours and package discounts. The welcoming event takes place from 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 550 Vandalia Tower, Suite 310.
Those interested trying a class sampler may check the Open House schedule and register in advance at www.definingyoufitness.com. Free class formats will include Pilates, HIIT, TRX, Barre and Indoor Cycling. In addition, several community partners will staff tables and offer samples and information including Mastel’s Health Foods and Athleta of Rosedale.
Defining You will also launch a Miles for Monarchs cause initiative to support Monarch Joint Venture throughout October. Clients can participate by clocking their mileage during indoor cycling classes with a comprehensive team goal set to top 2,000 miles, close to the same distance monarch butterflies trek from Minnesota to overwintering sites in Mexico.
“Fall represents a season of transformation and gathering, the perfect time to come together to reflect on our personal health and the wellbeing of our community,” explained Suzy Levi, owner of Defining You. “At Defining You, we pride ourselves on helping our clients transform their minds and bodies through movement so they can connect with their healthiest selves. Our open house is the perfect opportunity for curious individuals who perhaps have heard about Pilates or our studio to stop by, sign up, learn more, try a free sampler class and learn more about Miles for Monarchs. All are welcome!”

“My mission is to create achievable workouts for clients, and I am passion about nurturing future instructors and business owners in this wonderful wellness space,” said Defining You owner Suzy Levi (back row middle). “Movement can change unhealthy physical and emotional patterns, this philosophy influences, energizes and heals our clients every day.” (Photo submitted)

The Miles for Monarchs effort is a new way to support monarch butterflies through athletic activities and helps raise awareness about the decline of monarch butterflies and other native pollinator species. Funds raised will support local and national pollinator habitat projects and conservation work with both Monarch Joint Venture and Pheasants Forever. Officed in St. Paul, Monarch Joint Venture is a national partnership of federal and state agencies, non-governmental organizations, business and academic programs working together to conserve and monarch butterfly migration for future generations.
Defining You offers group fitness, Pilates and private training through certified and motivating instructors who share a passion for wellness. Levi founded her studio in the basement of her St. Paul home in 2006 believing that through the spirit of fitness individuals can improve their inner and outer strength and flexibility so they can do more, feel more and be happier. After moving to a location on Snelling Ave. for several years, Levi and her husband Scot Jennings recently retrofitted space in the convenient and historic mixed-use Vandalia Tower to accommodate her growing wellness business.
For more than 30 years with certifications and expertise in Pilates and fitness training, Levi has helped hundreds of individuals transform their health and lives through movement, and she believes exercise is about more than burning calories and getting leaner. Levi specializes in working with individuals living with scoliosis and other complex mobility issues.
Defining You is a wheelchair-friendly studio; however, Vandalia Tower property management will close the elevator for updating through Oct. 6. Guests visiting the studio who rely on use a wheelchair or accessibility device, should call 651-769-5712 or email definingyoufitnessdesk@gmail.com.

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Building a Stronger Midway: A tourist in your own town

Building a Stronger Midway: A tourist in your own town

Posted on 17 September 2019 by Tesha Christensen

By CHAD KULAS, Midway Chamber of Commerce Executive Director

I’m writing while my family visits my mother-in-law in Wyoming. It’s a wonderful place to visit, and very different to our lives in the Midway. We are interested in places and things the locals take for granted, like mountains, horses and wide open spaces.
But we should take a step back and be wowed and fascinated by the sights we see at home. Whether entertaining an out-of-town guest or just being a tourist in your own town, what are the places we take for granted?
Prior Works at 755 Prior Avenue is a wonderful place to take visitors or just yourself. Can Can Wonderland is not just an ordinary mini golf course as it’s also a fun, funky art exhibit with an old school arcade. In the same building you can throw some axes and play other lumberjack-style games at FlannelJax’s. If you haven’t thrown an axe at a large, wooden dart board, put in on your list of things to do soon. Even those who are unsure of trying have a great time. You can also start and end your day at the same spot at Prior Works- at the BlackStack Brewing space, which is now partnering with True Stone Coffee so it can be a coffee shop by day, and taproom by night.
Another new hot spot is on the cultural side- the new Bell Museum. Now on the Saint Paul campus, the museum offers a planetarium as well as natural history. You’ll learn more about Minnesota and about the far reaches of our galaxy.
If you want to show an out-of-town guest around, you can start your day at Groundswell where they can see some fun Minnesota-themed artwork, buy gifts about (or in the shape of) Minnesota and get the famous Minnesota cookie. Groundswell also partners with HWY North, and sells local artists ranging from jewelers, potters, authors, wood carvers and more.
Visitors will also be impressed with the local cuisine and all the cultures represented on or near the Green Line. We have taken guests to Bole so they can try Ethiopian food, and others to Vietnamese restaurants so they can try some of the best pho in the world.
The Minnesota State Fair may have just ended but the Fair has events throughout the year. Upcoming events in September include an antique show, a children’s consignment sale, a dog show, an Arabian horse show and many more – just in September alone.
Another jewel we take for granted is the State Capitol building. Considered by many as one of the most beautiful capitol buildings in the country (have you seen the North Dakota State Capitol?) tours are available to learn more about the history a self-guided tour wouldn’t tell you.
Next time you’re looking for something different to do, look around the neighborhood. Not only would you save travel time, you can help support your local businesses.

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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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August Monitor 48

Pies on the Prairie

Posted on 11 August 2019 by Tesha Christensen

Surprise – there’s Pierce Butler Meadows just before the Snelling Ave. crossing

By MARGIE O’LOUGHLIN
The Pierce Butler Route is known as a short cut through the Midway and Central neighborhoods of St. Paul. It runs, usually without congestion, all the way from Prior Ave, to Dale St. The surrounding area is mostly industrial, but just before Pierce Butler Route crosses under Snelling Ave. – there’s a surprise.
Pierce Butler Meadows is a small patch of native prairie growing on the southwest corner of that intersection. It starts along Pierce Butler Route as a cattail-lined pool, and gives way to swamp white oak and serviceberry seedlings, interspersed with 1,500 native plants and grasses, rising up the hillside.
Planted in October 2017 by teachers and students from Hamline Elementary, Hamline University, and the Hmong Preparatory Academy, countless Hamline Midway neighbors, and Hamline Midway Coalition staff (HMC), the newly-established Pierce Butler Meadows is in full bloom.
Prairies once stretched across western and southern Minnesota; less than 1% of the Minnesota native prairie remains today.
Prairies are sometimes called upside-down forests because much of the plant and animal life they support is below ground. Many prairie plants have roots five feet deep or more.
Extensive root systems improve the ability of water to infiltrate soil, which reduces runoff. Deep roots decrease erosion by anchoring soil. Prairie plants also store carbon, which keeps the soil healthy.

Attend prairie events
With the help of a partnership grant from the Capitol Region Watershed District, HMC is hosting three events called “Pies on the Prairie” at Pierce Butler Meadows this summer. The dates are Aug. 17, Sept. 21, and Oct. 5 from 10 a.m.-noon.
Each of the Saturday programs will offer different activities. Hear neighbors share their expertise about prairie flowers, prairie birds, bee keeping, water use in a prairie eco-system, and more. All ages are welcome, and the zero-waste event promises PIE. There is no cost to attend, and no registration is needed. Attend one or all of the programs.
HMC’s Melissa Michener said, ”’Pies on the Prairie’ is part of our work to build community engagement through clean water education. This is one of the ways we connect with residents, by showing how we can support cleaner water in the Hamline Midway neighborhood.”
For their ongoing efforts at the Pierce Butler Meadows, HMC received a Watershed Project Award from the Capitol Region Watershed District. The award recognizes a project that demonstrates excellence in protecting, managing, and improving local water resources within the watershed. The Pierce Butler Meadows came out of more than a decade of community interest in and activism on the site. Without the dedication of HMC’s Environment Committee and resident Steve Mitrione, the project would not have happened.
Contact Melissa Michener at Hamline Midway Coalition with questions about “Pies on the Prairie.”(Melissa@hmc.org) There will be parking on nearby Taylor Ave., and volunteers to help at the crossing on the west side of Snelling Ave.

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Extend the Midtown Greenway into St. Paul?

Posted on 27 July 2019 by Tesha Christensen

Study re-opens conversation about rehabbing bridge for bikes and peds while still carrying trains

By MARGIE O’LOUGHLIN
Engineering feasibility studies usually don’t have people sitting on the edge of their chairs but last month, supporters of the Midtown Greenway Coalition did just that.
More than 60 bike enthusiasts gathered on June 6, 2019, at the Hamline Midway Library to hear the results of the Extend the Greenway feasibility study, and to discuss the possibility of extending the Minneapolis bike trail into St. Paul.
The study involved in-depth structural analysis of the 100-year-old Short Line Railroad Bridge across the Mississippi River (east of 27th St. in the Longfellow neighborhood of Minneapolis).
Midtown Greenway Coalition executive director Soren Jensen explained, “With the support of our 35+ Extend the Greenway partners, and donations from hundreds of people on both sides of the river, we hired engineering firm Kimley-Horn and Associates to determine if the bridge could be rehabbed to safely support bikes and pedestrians. We are pleased to announce that the results are in –and it can!”
This isn’t the first time that the Short Line Bridge has been studied. Jensen said, “Hennepin County conducted an engineering study in 2006, and concluded that the bridge was just too old to be used as a connector. At that point, the conversation kind of died. For our study, we re-framed the question to be, ‘What would it take to strengthen the bridge to make it structurally sound?’ Kimley-Horn’s report outlined several options for rehabbing the bridge to make it safe for bikers and pedestrians. No matter which one is chosen, structural redundancies will have to be built into the bridge to make its usable.”
Jensen continued, “The idea isn’t to have all the answers right now, but to spark interest in re-examining the idea. The easiest thing would be if the train didn’t run, but ADM says they’re still investing in its use while the Atkinson Mill on Hiawatha Ave. operates. Almost all of our options involve sharing the bridge with the train, and could include building a replica bridge or adding a second story above the tracks.”
The existing 5.5-mile-long Greenway Bike Trail was built in three phases and, if everything works out, the expansion across the Mississippi River would be Phase Four.
Jensen said, “It’s important to remember that transit projects take time. This one would have a complicated funding structure pooling federal dollars, support from both Hennepin and Ramsey counties, the cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, business and non-profit sponsors, and individual donors. What we hope to do is get the conversation started.”
Looking ahead, if the Greenway were extended as far as Cleveland Ave. in St. Paul, there would be safer bike and pedestrian access to Alliance Field, the State Fair Grounds, the Green Line LRT and more. Another advantage would be connecting the Somali communities at Skyline Towers in St. Paul with Cedar Riverside in Minneapolis via bicycle.
The Extend the Greenway Partnership also supports the proposed Min Hi Line in South Minneapolis, which would connect the Midtown Greenway to Minnehaha Falls Park.
Jensen said, “All organizations that share our vision of extending the Midtown Greenway are welcome to join us. The Extend the Greenway Partnership includes neighborhood groups, non-profit organizations and businesses from both Minneapolis and St. Paul. For more information, contact Soren Jensen at soren@midtowngreenway.org.

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