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Categorized | IN OUR COMMUNITY

Monitor In A Minute

Posted on 07 May 2018 by Calvin

By JANE MCCLURE

Port, city approve Lyngblomsten changes
Changes to a longtime Como neighborhood facility for elders are expected to improve life for residents there. On Apr. 25 the St. Paul City Council unanimously approved the issuance of approximately $10 million in bank‐qualified conduit tax-exempt and taxable revenue bonds for Lyngblomsten, 1415 Almond Ave.

The funding, which won approval earlier this spring from the St. Paul Port Authority, will be used to finance construction and equipping of improvements to the existing 277,000 square‐foot, 237‐bed skilled nursing facility. Facility improvements intend to allow Lyngblomsten to provide senior care services benefitting its patients more efficiently.

Lyngblomsten has been in the Como neighborhood since 1906. It provides a continuum of senior housing and care options.

The bonds will not create financial risk for the city or the Port. The bonds are classified as two types of health care facilities revenue bonds under the Minnesota Municipal Industrial Act.

Similar bond issues have been used for projects at charter schools, health care facilities, colleges, and universities.

One goal for the upcoming Lyngblomsten project is to reduce the number of skilled nursing home beds from 237 to 225.

Mini golf changes course
Como Park’s miniature golf course has a new management company. The St. Paul City Council approved on Apr. 25 a management agreement with Wheel Fun Rentals for the course.

Longtime course operator Putt’er There Miniature Golf saw its lease end in fall 2017. Owner Thomas Annunziata, who saw his plans to improve the course denied several years ago, didn’t reapply. He had played mini-golf at the course as a child and operated the course for more than two decades. He had objected to the city process for contracting the business out and saw the course’s success as a reason he was pushed out. City staff disputed that and said they seek requests for proposals for all city facilities.
The mini-golf course sees about 25,000 visitors per year.

Wheel Fun Rentals is a California-based company. It operates attractions at many Twin Cities and Minnesota parks.

The 12-page agreement calls for the company to invest $200,000 into the facility by the year 2020, with $20,000 up front. The agreement also calls for the city to receive nine to 10 percent of gross monthly revenue before sales taxes. That is at a minimum of $10,000 per year. As is standard for city contracts, the new operators must provide profit and loss statements, and monthly records of revenues and expenses.

The contract is one of two Como Park-related changes the City Council authorized in April. The council also gave Parks and Recreation the go-ahead to enter into a grant agreement with the State of Minnesota through Metropolitan Council for bonding appropriations for Como Park Zoo and Conservatory’s Seal and Seal Lion Project.

The Minnesota Legislature has awarded a $15 million grant for predesign, design, engineering, and construction for the seal and sea lion habitat at Como Zoo. The funding was a city priority at the Capitol for years and was approved last legislative session.

Garbage update
St. Paul’s move toward organized residential trash collection took another step forward Apr. 25. The St. Paul City Council agreed to spend up to $4 million to purchase new wheeled, lidded garbage carts.

The cart purchase is in tandem with a flurry of other steps led by the St. Paul Department of Public Works. The goal is to start the organized collection at all home and smaller multi-family buildings on Oct. 1. Before then residents will get information, via mail and online, about the changes.

In November 2017 the council approved a contract with city residential trash haulers, who organized as St. Paul Haulers, LLC. Since then three smaller firms—East Metro Environmental and two Garbageman franchises—have been sold to larger companies. Other companies aren’t taking new clients leading up to the switch.

The city’s website outlines several steps. Residents and landlords need to request cart size by June 1. Otherwise, a cart size will be assigned based on existing service. Cart delivery starts in mid-August and continues through September. This summer is when residents will learn who their hauler is.

The change to organized collection is welcomed by those who deal with illegal trash dumping, and residents and landlords who don’t purchase trash pickup service. But for many people, the move to a city-hauler consortium service will lead to much higher costs. The option to share a trash can with a neighbor won’t be possible.

An interactive map of collection routes will be made available by early August at stpaul.gov/garbage.

University Ave. bar changes
Longtime Frogtown bar Johnny Baby’s, 981 University Ave., will be allowed to close at 2am. In April the St. Paul City Council approved the extension of its hours. The change, which went to a legislative hearing officer earlier this spring, also went through a neighborhood review process.

The license request went to a legislative hearing after a neighborhood complaint was received. The extension of hours was approved with several conditions, including daily trash pickup at the property perimeter, wanding of patrons for weapons before entry when security is on duty, having properly trained security personnel from 8pm until closing, and several conditions on how security guards will conduct themselves and do their work. Having a lighting placement and video surveillance plan is also required.

The change is one of the latest for University Avenue’s bar and restaurant community. Tracks Bar and Grill, which was part of the Days Inn complex at University and Prior avenues for years, has reopened on Rice St. Hot Rod’s, 1553 University Ave., recently closed.