Anyone seeking a project for their community doesn’t have a lot of time to weigh in on St. Paul’s 2023 Long-Range Capital Improvement Budget (CIB) candidates. A public hearing on projects is 3:30 p.m. Monday, June 20 at city hall, giving advocates one more chance to seek share of a $1 million pot.
That amount means it’s likely that fewer than a dozen of the 43 projects in the finals will be funded. Those are from a list of almost 90 submissions. An online project poll closed June 3. Read about projects at https://engagestpaul.org/14520/widgets/43754/documents/
Public comments will be evaluated along with district council rankings and initial project scores from the CIB Committee. A first committee pass at project rankings is expected June 13.
Testimony at the June 20 hearing can make a difference, said Noel Nix, director of community engagement for Mayor Melvin Carter. “The committee can adjust the rankings after the public hearing.”
The committee meets June 27 to finalize its recommendations, and send those to the mayor and city council. The mayor can accept the recommendations as is, or make further changes before presenting the capital budget as part of the 2023 city budget in August.
Project requests were asked to focus on public safety, with many focused on traffic and lighting improvements. One interesting aspect of St. Paul’s capital spending process is that anyone can submit an idea.
Hamline-Midway projects in the chase include Horton Park Plaza, at $310,552. Hamline Midway Coalition (HMC) proposes a park entry plaza in Horton Park where Hamline Avenue meets Minnehaha Avenue, and replacement of light fixtures along the west side of Hamline between Englewood and Minnehaha avenues. Signage, landscaping, trash and recycling containers, a bike repair station and bike racks could draw more people to the park and increase eyes on the park area.
A second HMC request is for $215,000 to design and install traffic calming measures at the intersection of Thomas Avenue and Griggs Street, with concrete curb extensions and medians. Temporary bollards would be used to show the concept.
Thomas is a focus for area resident Barett Steenrod, who seeks traffic calming measures in the form of curb extensions, pedestrian islands, and four-way crosswalks for Thomas’s intersections with Avon Street and Victoria Street. No cost estimate was given.
Lighting needs are in two area projects. Frogtown Park Stewards are seeking $154,526 for full replacement of existing largely non-functioning lighting within Frogtown Farm and Park with solar powered lights or other lighting. Copper wire thieves have repeatedly hit the park. Since 2018, 10 of 13 lights at the Frogtown Park and Farm have been unlit.
Another lighting request is from St. Anthony Park Community Council (SAPCC), which seeks $30,000 to add lighting on Raymond between University and Wabash avenues, especially on the street’s west side. A third request in that area, also from SAPCC, is for $150,000 to remove the railroad lines and repave Wabash Avenue between Cromwell and Raymond avenues.
The South St Anthony Park Whole Community Block Clubs St. Anthony Park seeks $315,000 for improvements at the Cromwell-Robbins-Manvel intersection, with improved lighting and traffic calming.
Another West Midway area project is proposed by Macalester-Groveland resident Joel Clemmer to add sidewalks on the south side of Charles Avenue between Hampden and Vandalia avenues, for $60,000.
Two proposals from Como Community Council center on Como Park needs. One is for $104,715 to install security cameras at four locations along the Como Lake path, improve lighting at four locations, and potentially remove underbrush and overgrown vegetation at multiple locations. Changes would improve sustainability and accessibility of places along the path.
A second request is for $857,535 for wayfinding improvements at Como Park, including information kiosks and trail repairs.
The advocacy group Sustain St. Paul seeks more than $1.6 million for several pedestrian safety improvements near schools, libraries and recreation centers citywide. That includes Crossroads Montessori, with a $320,000 request for bump-outs at the Front-Kent and Front-Mackubin corners.
Another area site is Jackson Elementary, which closes at the end of this school year. Bumpouts are sought on Thomas Avenue at Western Avenue and Arundel Street, for $320,000.
Reconfiguring the Selby Avenue-Saratoga Street intersection was proposed by Union Park District Council (UPDC) member Scott Berger. The project, which could cost up to $1.075 million, could include design elements such as roundabout or a “protected intersection.” A protected intersection has more separation between bicyclist, pedestrians and motor vehicles, often with small islands at intersections.
Three proposals submitted by UPDC Transportation Committee member Lisa Nelson are still in the running, for $65,000 to place a flashing beacon light on Griggs Street between Skyline Tower and Midway Peace Park, and $75,000 for a beacon where Selby and the Ayd Mill Road trail intersect.
A request for $65,675 was made by Nelson to add bike racks at several city parks and playgrounds that lack them. Among the 13 parks eyed are Shadow Falls, Iris Park, Dickerman Park, College Park, Horton Park, Ryan Park and Marydale Park.
Marydale Park is in two other requests. North End Neighborhood Organization seeks $148,120 to upgrade lighting, benches and picnic tables. Another need is to repair the fishing dock.
Sepak Takraw of USA seeks $129,605 for light fixtures and wind shields at parks including Marydale. The improvements are for two parks that have courts for the games of tuj lub and sepak takraw or kato.
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