District 10 Como Community Council

Curious about latest Sholom Home site plan?

Former Shalom development plans

Developers have officially filed for parking and density variances so they can convert the former Sholom Home property into rental apartments. Midway Community Group LLC wants to renovate the former nursing home at Midway Parkway and Snelling to create 150 rental apartments. Variances are necessary because the developer’s plan does not meet the city’s existing zoning code for the property, which is zoned RM2 multi-family.

The zoning code presumes 1,500 square feet for each unit. After adjustments, that means code allows a maximum of 82 apartments, not the 150 units the project envisions. The plan calls for 22 studio apartments, 97 one-bedroom apartments, 24 two-bedroom apartments, and 7 three-bedroom apartments in the existing buildings. All apartments would be less than 1,100 square feet.

For that mix of units, the zoning code also requires 166 off-street parking spaces. The developer’s latest architectural site plan, however, provides only 80 spaces: 51 surface parking spots on its Canfield side, plus 29 new indoor spaces. That means the project is 86 parking spaces short.

Therefore, the developer is seeking a parking variance of 86 spaces and a density variance to allow 150 apartments.

District 10’s Land Use Committee was scheduled to consider the variance requests on Feb. 10; any committee recommendations would go to the full Como Community Council board on Tuesday Feb. 18. (The board meeting, which is open to the public, is at 7 p.m. at the Como Park Streetcar Station, 1224 Lexington Parkway N.)

The city’s Board of Zoning Appeals is tentatively scheduled to hold a hearing on the Midway Parkway requests on Monday Feb. 24 at 3 p.m. in City Hall.

More details are available on the Como Community Council website: www.district10comopark.org.

Expand Your World

with 2020’s Sunday Series

The Como Community Council’s annual Sunday Series gives you six opportunities to expand your world, six Sundays in a row.

All the events are free, all events the events run from 1-2:30 p.m., and all events include presentations and plenty of time for Q&A. For full information, see the Como Community Council’s website: www.district10comopark.org. A quick rundown of this year’s Sunday Series lineup:

Feb. 23: Trash or Treasure. Unclutter your space, unclutter your life. With Laura Gilbert and Jennifer Victor-Larsen. Where: Como Park Streetcar Station, 1224 Lexington Parkway N.

March 1: “Minnesota Stories in a Changing Climate.” This film from Will Steger’s Climate Generation features six stories about how climate change already is changing our state. In cooperation with the Saint Paul Public Library’s Read Brave Documentary Film Series. Where: Como Zoo and Conservatory’s Visitor Center Auditorium.

March 8: Forgotten Como History: The 1917 Winter Carnival’s 500-Mile Winnipeg-Saint Paul Dog Sled Race. With Drew Ross. Where: Mount Olive Lutheran Church Fireside Room, 1460 Almond Ave.

March 15: Nature in Your Own Backyard. With John Moriarty, author of “Field Guide to the Natural World of the Twin Cities” and the Como Lake Turtle Study.

March 22: Old Media in a New Era: What’s the Future of Local News? With Kelly Smith from the Star Tribune, Tesha Christensen from the Midway Como Monitor, and Chuck Carlson from the Park Bugle. Where: Como Park Streetcar Station, 1224 Lexington Parkway N.

March 29: In Search of Justice: The Purpose and Promise of Bail Reform and Juvenile Detention Alternatives. With Ramsey County District Court Judge DeAnne Hilgers. Where: Como Park Streetcar Station, 1224 Lexington Parkway N.

Family homeless shelter?

Interfaith Action and Ramsey County are exploring the feasibility of opening a homeless shelter and day center for families inside the Minnesota Cameroon Community Center in Bandana Square.

“There are no solid plans, but it’s an exciting opportunity with lots of possibilities,” Sara Liegl, director of Interfaith Action’s Project Home, told the Como Community Council’s Land Use Committee in January. The groups are working out renovation and code requirements; costs; construction and operational funding; staffing; and logistical needs, Liegl said. Late summer is the earliest she envisions a shelter could open.

Ramsey County currently does not have a permanent shelter for homeless families. Instead, Project Home provides 40 beds a night in a rotating group of faith communities and schools. Families must move every 30 days. Project Home also operates a day center for families at First Baptist Church downtown.

The shortage of beds for families is mind-boggling, Liegl says: At any given time in 2019, there were at least 120 parents and children in Ramsey County on a waiting list for shelter.

The Cameroon Community owns about 57,000 square feet of space in the northwest corner of Bandana Square, in Energy Park. The space used to be a medical clinic. It still has more than 70 exam rooms with sinks, plus public bathrooms and other public space. The belief is that exam space could be converted into flexible, dormitory-style rooms. That could provide private space for 40-60 families of different sizes, and perhaps older women, Liegl says. Other space could be used for meals, showers, storage, laundry, and case management services.

“When we found out about the plight of the homeless families, the school children, it was heartbreaking,” said Christian Akale, a board member of the Minnesota Cameroon Community. “We hope the building will be part of the solution.”


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