ReNewell Project aims to restore historic Saint Paul oak grove

As planning begins for this year’s Heartwood Festival, an unusual partnership between the city of Saint Paul, the University of Minnesota and the Hamline Midway Coalition has planted the seeds for the renewal of a historic oak grove in Newell Park. TheReNewell Project aims “to engage community members in Newell Park restoration each year during the Heartwood Festival,” according to Faith Krogstad, a community organizer with the Hamline Midway Coalition, which organizes the Heartwood Festival in Newell Park each year.Newell Park, wedged between Fairview and Pierce Butler, is host to a grove of more than 150 oak trees identified on the city’s landmark trees list. This grove was already established when the park was dedicated in 1908, one of the last native growths in Saint Paul of its kind.“Newell Park is one of the oldest parks, if not the oldest park, in the city, and it is very iconic for the old-growth oak trees that exist there,” said Brett Stadsvold, a natural resource technician with the City of Saint Paul’s forestry unit. “So it is very important to the community of Saint Paul to make sure that we have trees to replace the mature oak trees in the future… so that we have something new to take the place of anything that comes down.”“In terms of mass stands like Newell Park, there is nothing else that is part of the landmark tree program,” Stadsvold added.The seeds of the reNewell Project were really planted four years ago, when Chad Giblin of the University of Minnesota’s Department of Horticultural Science struck up a research partnership with the forestry unit of the Saint Paul’s Parks and Recreation department.“The main focus that we are looking at with our research partnership is ‘What can we do to get younger trees established in the parks, on the streets, in the city, or so forth,’” Giblin said. Continue Reading

Retail tonic: Hardware jazz

In a tough retail environment, one hardware store springs for live music. Steve Blake plays jazz piano at the Midway Menards.Steve Blake has an impressive jazz career going. There was his decade long engagement at Nikki’s in the Minneapolis Warehouse District. Now, his main venue is a bit less hip. On Saturday mornings Steve puts on his tux and bikes the three miles to the store.Yet, he considers Menards a great gig. Continue Reading