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Categorized | IN OUR COMMUNITY

Como Plan; New Midway park; Talking trash

Posted on 08 March 2016 by Calvin

Compailed by JANE MCCLURE

Como plan is approved
Many months of hard work by Como residents and business owners has resulted in the adoption of a new district plan for the Como Park neighborhood. The St. Paul City Council unanimously adopted the plan in early February.

Every one of the city’s 17 planning district is required to have a plan, and to update that plan every decade. The plans become part of the city’s comprehensive plan, and part of regional plans overseen by the Metropolitan Council.

District plans lay out a vision for a neighborhood, regarding housing and economic development, parks and trails, streets and other infrastructure, and a host of other issues. District councils and city officials use the plan to guide redevelopment, set capital budget priorities and weigh in on city issues.

The Como plan was developed over a three-year period. More than 1,000 volunteer hours went into the plan, through a process led by a volunteer committee. Several hundred people weighed in when the plan was being developed.

The plan calls for maintaining the neighborhood’s stable residential quality with sensitive, limited development and redevelopment. Future park and recreation improvements, including work at Como Park, should enhance neighborhood livability. Neighborhood connectedness should be enhanced by making the neighborhood a better place to bike and walk, with safer street crossings. Street improvements will also be a priority.

Bringing in more small and median-sized businesses to serve the community, and policies to support and protect the environment through sustainable development are also goals.

New park is taking shape
The third and final property near Griggs St. south of University Ave. has been purchased and secured for a new 5-acre park in the Midway neighborhood, The Trust for Public Land and the City of Saint Paul announced last month. “It is a rare opportunity to be able to create such a large, vibrant green space in an urban area,” said Mayor Chris Coleman. “We are thrilled that our collaboration with The Trust for Public Land will allow us to establish a community gathering space along the Green Line.”

The parcels are between Parks High School and the Central Medical parking lot on the east side of Griggs.

The Trust for Public Land acquired the parcel with private funds and donated it to the City. The other two parcels were acquired with a combination of the city’s 8-80 Vitality Funds and private funds. The owners of the three parcels also discounted the sales price in light of the land’s future use as a park. The park is located in one of the few remaining neighborhoods where an accessible neighborhood park is not within a 10-minute walk for residents.

Over the next couple of years, The Trust for Public Land will lead creative community engagement to bring together park stakeholders and raise funds to develop the park. The park will both serve as a destination along the Green Line, which has few parks along its route; and as an important local park for the neighborhood, the adjacent Gordon Parks High School community, and residents of the nearby Skyline Tower.

Currently referred to as the “park at Griggs,” the park will be named during the community planning process. Residents of Skyline Tower have long-sought community green space, and teachers from nearby Gordon Parks High School have incorporated elements of civic engagement related to parks into their innovative curriculum. A creative community engagement process will help bring these park stakeholders together with others, including Union Park District Council, the Lexington-Hamline Neighborhood Association, Wilder Foundation, and others.

City wants to talk trash
Take a survey, speak at a forum, or take a picture of your trash bill and send it to City Hall. Those are ways St. Paul residents can weigh in on whether or not the city should move to an organized trash collection system. In late February the St. Paul City Council unanimously approved a resolution launching the public input process.

Comments gathered in March and April will be used to develop draft goals and objections for developing an organized trash collection system.

St. Paul has an open garbage collection system, in which residents and business owners hire their own haulers. In organized collection, the city oversees trash collection. In St. Paul this is likely to mean dividing the city into zones served by a designated hauler or haulers. Discussion of a change has pitted haulers and customers who want to choose their own trash hauler against those who want organized collection. Support is also coming from neighborhoods where illegal dumping of trash is a problem. The city spends about $250,000 per year cleaning up dumped garbage.

The resolution adopted Feb. 24 has several goals, including placing a priority on maintaining opportunities for small, local, minority and women-owned garbage haulers, in addition to supporting living wage jobs. The council also stated a desire to provide consistent, quality customer service; provide stable and uniform rates for residents throughout the city; and improve the understanding of, and access to, garbage service for new residents and non-English speakers.

The resolution was amended, at Ward One Council Member Dai Thao’s request, to explore the need for cleared and plowed alley access for trash-removal services, emergency vehicles, pedestrian mobility, and public safety. In St. Paul, property owners must cover the costs of alley plowing. Changing that has been debated for years, and some council members said they don’t want the alley plowing debate to overwhelm the issue of organized garbage collection. They said the issue might have to be set aside for more study separately.

When sending a copy of a trash bill, residents should cross out their names and the last two numbers of their street address and send their bill. Residents can submit them by mail to Public Works, 1500 City Hall Annex, 25 W. 4th St., St. Paul, MN 55102. To e-mail, submit to allinprogram@ci.stpaul.mn.us

On Facebook, post a status with a picture of your bill and the hashtag #ShareYourBillStP. On Twitter: Tweet to, or send a direct message to, @cityofsaintpaul, or utilize the hashtag #ShareYourBillStP with a picture of your bill.

For more information about organized trash collection and updates on the process visit: http://www.stpaul.gov/organized-trash-collection

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