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Categorized | IN OUR COMMUNITY

Sept. 2018 Development Roundup

Posted on 10 September 2018 by Calvin

By JANE MCCLURE

Neighborhood parking funds repurposed for pedestrians
Four years after Green Line light rail began operations, dollars once eyed for commercial parking will be redirected to pay for pedestrian safety and public realm improvements. On Aug. 22 the St. Paul City council, acting as the Housing and Redevelopment Authority (HRA) Board, approved the transfer and use of tax increment financing (TIF) dollars needed for the new project.

About $200,000 in unspent TIF will be used along Snelling Ave. between University and Englewood avenues. The St. Paul Department of Public Works will use the funds in the public right-of-way along Snelling.

Longtime area residents and business owners might remember the outcry when it was learned that space needed for light rail would take out about 85 percent of the parking spaces along University. City officials responded in 2009 with the Neighborhood Commercial Parking Pilot Program. The $2.1 million program was meant to be split equally between businesses in Ward One and Ward Four along University. Twenty-six projects, ranging from shared parking agreements to the creation of new off-street spaces, were funded through the program.

Most of the funding came from the Snelling-University TIF district, with Neighborhood Sales Tax Revitalization (STAR) funds and a scattered-site TIF district also chipping in.

The remaining $200,000 will be used for various pedestrian safety and public realm improvements along N. Snelling Ave. The top priority identified is at Snelling and Englewood avenues, where Hamline University and Hamline Elementary are across the street from each other. Another spot suggested is at Snelling and Sherburne avenues. Both intersections each have several businesses around them.

Other places along Snelling could also be considered for improvements. But that depends on costs for the priority areas and if there are funds left over.
Pedestrian safety improvements could include median extensions, enhanced signage, and/or a rapid rectangular flashing beacon. Public Works will look at the costs. The current estimate is $100,000.

Unspent funding could be allocated to improvements in the Little Africa business district along Snelling. Businesses and other community stakeholders would have input on proposed projects.

Grants support several projects
Metropolitan Council grants for several development projects, including some in the Midway area, were accepted by St. Paul city officials in August. The grants are sought by developers, but the city must apply on their behalf and then formally accept grants if they are approved.

More than a dozen projects across St. Paul have sought funding in the past year. Not all were funded. Contamination Cleanup and Investigation grants were awarded to two area projects, $389,136.00 for Legends at Berry Apartments and $306,800.00 for Metro Deaf School. The apartments are part of a larger complex planned on the former Weyerhaeuser Lumber property at the west city limits. Metro Deaf is moving its school to a new Energy Park Dr. location.

A pre-development grant of $28,924 was approved for University and Dale. Neighborhood Development Center is leading work on a mixed-use project at the northwest corner of that intersection.

In total, the city received more than $1.32 million in grants.

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