Monitor in a Minute November 2021


Parks funding wins OK
Grants and donations for improvements to area parks and trails won St. Paul City Council in October.
The council received $22,693 from the Ramsey County Soil and Water Conservation District through Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) for the Como Transportation Improvements-Como Pavilion and Golf Course parking lot construction project. The funds are for part of a pavilion and golf course parking lot and trails resurfacing project, to implement improved storm water management practices. The project has a total cost of $1.5 million, which the bulk of the funding from Metropolitan Council.
The Wabash Avenue Trail Spur project got a boost with $150,000 from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Local Trail Connection grant, and an additional $80,000 from the old 8-80 program in Public Works dollars. The 8-80 program was a federal effort under then-President Barack Obama to fund infrastructure.
Wabash is an industrial area street, extending from Cleveland Avenue past Pelham Boulevard and to the Minneapolis city limits. The city’s current bike plan calls for a bike lane separated from motor vehicle traffic. It would connect to current and future routes including Pelham.
A third boost is for Hamline Park, which was recently renovated and improved. The city council formally accept a gift including picnic grills and tables valued at $7,000 from Friends of Hamline Park Playground and Hamline Midway Coalition.

New emissions permit eyed
A comment period for a new air emissions permit for Co-Operative Plating is expected to start in November. Representatives of the metal electroplating firm at 1605 Iglehart Ave. and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) met Oct. 20 with Union Park District Council (UPDC) Parks and Environment Committee, several neighbors and company representatives.
Co-Operative Platting has been in Merriam Park for many years. It runs 18 separate metal plating coating lines. In the 1980s the company ran afoul of environmental regulations and was penalized. The company has since made many changes, including entering a voluntary compliance program with the MPCA, adding a scrubbing system to control emissions and dropping the use of TCE or trichlorethylene as a degreaser. that chemical has been linked to some forms of cancer.
A new air emissions permit has been in process since 2017.

More ash trees to be removed
St. Paul’s ongoing battle against the emerald ash borer got a key boost October 20 as the City Council approved an $18 million boost to the city’s forest budget. The money is from a St. Paul Port Authority bond issue. The Port earlier this year agreed to step in and work with the city to speed up the long task of cutting down diseased trees, removing stumps and replacing new trees. The bond proceeds will also allow for forestry workers to catch up on a massive backlog of stumping, tree replanting and tree trimming needs unrelated to the spread of emerald ash borer. The funds allow for the planting of an additional 2,000 trees per year.


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