A look inside Saint Paul's 8-80 Vitality Fund

Ever since Mayor Chris Coleman introduced his 2015 budget in August, I’ve been anxious to learn more about the details of the Mayor’s proposal for a new $42.5 million “8-80 Vitality Fund”. Last week a list of projects were posted online in preparation for the City Council’s October 8th budget review session. I shared the list with readers in my post, “Saint Paul’s 8-80 Vitality Fund Can Help Saint Paul Work for Everyone” (October 7, 2014). But I still had a lot of questions about the details, so I headed down to City Hall to listen in on the Council discussion. The majority of the time was spent reviewing the Palace Theater renovation project and the newly prepared list of projects to be funded with the remaining $9.5M


Conservation districts are (still) a bad idea

Minneapolis Conservation Districts are back in the news, and they look to have some broader support as the ordinance goes to a full city council next week. We’ve covered the topic at before, with a dissenting take, some reasons to support them, and a fun podcast for those who hate reading. Even burgeoning news source The Wedge Times-Picayune picked up my annoying Twitter rant yesterday (side note: I’m still awaiting my signing bonus as an official correspondent).


Varied aesthetic options, ‘green’ infrastructure considered for Lowry Avenue development

The graphic [above] is what-if for handling the railroad bridge over Lowry near Washington. Flood Plain Collective, Anna Bierbrauer and Miss Emily Lowery, who created the graphic were on hand at the last public meeting in the neighborhood prior to the Hennepin County Board’s upcoming vote on plans for Lowry Avenue Northeast.


Non-conforming use permits and the Schmidt self-storage facility

Earlier this month, the Saint Paul Planning Commission engaged in a fascinating debate over a proposal on West 7th Street to build a self-storage facility next to the remodeled Schmidt brewery site. The issue was a discussion about whether or not to approve a non-conforming use reestablishment, and there were split votes in both the Zoning Committee (4 in favor, 2 against) and at the full Commission (9 in favor, 8 against; I was one of the ‘no’ votes). To me, the permit discussion revealed how zoning decisions can revolve around subjective considerations. In this case, a lot weighed on considerations of economic potential and predictions about the future of neighborhoods.


Parking lot views can build better cities

For most Minnesotans, a trip to the mall means getting in the car, driving through traffic, and navigating a crowded parking lot before even stepping into a store. But for residents who are moving into the new luxury apartments at One Southdale Place, a mall is just a short walk across the parking lot. These structures promote high-density, pedestrian friendly cities that strengthen community development.


Invitation to look up close at Bassett Creek Valley redevelopment

Linden Yards West Development Study showing Ryan Companies’ vision

When all else fails, walk the site and show what people are talking about. That’s what the Bassett Creek Valley Redevelopment Oversight Committee (the ROC) decided as the next step toward their goal, getting rid of the city’s Impound Lot.


325-unit high-rise proposed for Central Avenue site

Two Central Avenue landmarks, the Washburn McReavy Funeral Chapel at 200 Central Avenue SE and the St. Anthony Athletic Club just east of it, might be razed for highrise housing next year, if a Minneapolis-based developer’s plan goes through.


Debate continues on what to do at Upper Harbor Terminal site

At the end of the year, the city-owned Upper Harbor Terminal will stop operating, ending an era that began when the site opened in 1968. The 48-acre industrial stretch on the west side of the Mississippi River between the Lowry and Camden bridges is destined for transformation in the coming years, but just what shape it will take remains up for discussion.


Hamline University expansion plans threaten neighborhood

(Photo by Tom Goldstein) This home at 1538 Englewood Ave, built in 1887 and currently serving as the Hamline "Guest House" was targeted for demolition in Hamline's 2008 expansion plan.

People walking or driving along Minnehaha Avenue and neighboring streets near Hamline University may have noticed bright red signs beginning to dot several residential lawns.


Marshall Street project on hold for 2 months

Outcry from residents and business people temporarily stopped the Minneapolis Park Board from locating an operations center on the Mississippi River at 1720 Marshall St. NE.

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