New use eyed for longtime school
The St. Paul City School is preparing to move its operations out of historic Frogtown Catholic schools and into a new building at University Avenue and Marion Street. A new use for the City School middle school is already being eyed.
The Black Youth healing Arts collective, under the Minneapolis-based Irreducible Grace Foundation, is seeking a conditional use permit to repurpose the building. The primary occupancy would fall under congregate care with 16 beds, with kitchen and dining facilities, a therapy room, training and teaching areas. The secondary use would be for business offices and administrative support.
School in line for safety funding
A Summit-University neighborhood school could be next in line for Safe Routes to Schools improvements if an application for funding is successful. The St. Paul City Council Dec. 15 approved an application for $500,000 for pedestrian and bike safety improvements around the school at 380 N. Victoria St.
Safe Routes to Schools is a program that has been implemented successfully at other schools, including Cretin-Derham Hall, Expo and Holy Spirit in Highland. St. Paul has used the program for about five years.
Program funding is offered by the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT). MnDOT will fund projects up to $500,000.
In order to get the MnDOT funding, the city has to provide a match. City staff has identified a recommended scope of work with a project capital cost of $637,000, and engineering and inspection costs of $163,000, for a total project cost of $800,000.
The city’s 2019 pedestrian plan has identified the area surrounding Maxfield Elementary as a high priority area for walking investments.
In fall 2022 Maxfield could be welcoming Frogtown neighborhood students after Jackson Elementary is closed.
Affordable housing funds hailed
St. Paul and Ramsey County will combine $74.5 million in federal American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act dollars to build housing for households at 30 percent area median income. County and city officials, along with members of Minnesota’s Congressional delegation, made the announcement Dec. 13.
The city will put $37.5 million into the 30% Area Median Income (AMI) Housing Fund initiative fund, said Mayor Melvin Carter. The city funds will be added to another $37.5 million in ARP dollars the county already set aside for deeply affordable housing.
The $74.5 million investment is targeted to expand affordable housing by as many as 1,000 permanent housing units. The county allocation will be split between city and suburban projects, with the city funds remaining in St. Paul. County officials are looking at the creation of about 300 deeply affordable housing units.
The city-county fund is believed to be one of the largest uses of ARP dollars for affordable housing in the United States. Details of the initiatives are in the works, and will be announced in early 2022.
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