Residents push for bus route down Hamline

Posted on 10 September 2015 by Calvin

Hamline Hi-Rise seniors lead the effort to add bus route down Hamline Ave. to light rail line


IMG_2313HamlineWalkersIf you live near 777 N. Hamline Ave., you have to take three buses to get to the grocery store on University Ave. W.

Photo right: Proud Hamline Walkers have gone door-to-door canvassing the neighborhood with a petition asking for a bus route down Hamline Ave. Over 250 have signed it. (Photo by Tesha M. Christensen)

Some senior residents of the Hamline Hi-Rise opt to drive their power wheelchairs down the street instead, traveling nine blocks south to get to the shops along University.
Jerline Clark doesn’t think that’s safe. And she’s working to do something about it.
Clark is pushing for a bus route down Hamline.

When the Green Line opened, Metro Transit added a route along Lexington, she pointed out, using federal funds designated for the purpose of moving people towards the light rail line. Representatives with Metro Transit have told Clark they won’t add a line along Hamline because there is one on Lexington.

“We still can’t get to the light rail,” remarked Clark, who has been a resident at the Hamline Hi-Rise since 2005. Completed in 1976, 777 N. Hamline has 17 floors and 186 one-bedroom apartments. It is operated by the St. Paul Public Housing Agency.

IMG_2321SmJerlineClark“They made the decision of where to put the buses without asking the people in the neighborhood,” she added. “There’s more need down Hamline than there is on Lexington.”

Photo left: Jerline Clark, a resident at the Hamline Hi-Rise, is leading the effort to get a bus down Hamline. “I see a need for this,” she explained. (Photo by Tesha M. Christensen)

Over 250 people agreed with her and signed a petition last fall requesting a bus down Hamline.

In addition to asking fellow Hamline Hi-Rise residents to sign, Clark and the Proud Hamline Senior Walkers went door-to-door in the neighborhood asking for signatures.

“There are a lot of people from different walks of life that want the bus,” remarked Darlene Jackson, a fellow Hi-Rise resident who helped canvas the neighborhood. She pointed out that many Hamline University students indicated they’d use a bus if there was one.

Emily Samsel lives next door to the Hamline Hi-Rise and regularly volunteers there with her church, The Third Way Community, that meets at Knox Presbyterian Church.

“It seems like a no-brainer to me,” said Samsel.

Right now, residents walk two blocks down to Minnehaha to catch a bus. They take that over to Snelling where they have to switch buses. That takes them only as far as University. Then they have to switch buses again to find one to take them to Cub.

Imagine doing that as a senior and then hauling your grocery bags back, switching buses several times again. Now factor in inclement weather and icy roads.

“In the winter, it’s terrible,” added Jackson. “We’re got to eat too. That’s where the grocery stores are.”

Samsel acknowledged that the residents could opt to use Metro Mobility, but it isn’t predictable, and it costs $3 or $4 each way, she said. For someone who has to get to a doctor’s appointment three times a week, that adds up.

“Most seniors are pretty limited,” Samsel pointed out.

Some people opt to walk, but that can be tough too, pointed out Samsel. “These sidewalks are trouble,” said Samsel. “I trip every time and I don’t have a disability.”

Because of the bumps and sidewalks that aren’t shoveled well, the power wheelchairs use the smoother street surface.

Samsel believes that many residents would use a bus if it ran down Hamline. “It’s good for everybody,” she stated.

As she’s talked to neighborhood residents, she has only heard support for the initiative.
They aren’t asking for a private bus, stressed Clark. “We just need it to be convenient,” she said.

Clark pointed out that they’re flexible about how often the bus runs down Hamline. It could be every two hours or just mornings and afternoons.

Last October, a community meeting was held at the Hamline Hi-Rise. Clark plans to hold another within the next few months to garner more support for the bus route.

She also urges residents to contact these people to show their support:
—Met Council Representative Jon Commers 651-645-4664
—Metro Transit General Manager Brian Lamb 612-349-7510
—St. Paul City Council Member Russ Stark 651-266-8640
—Minnesota Department of Transportation Commissioner Charlie Zelle 651-366-1899

For more information, contact Clark at jerlineclark@hotmail.com.

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Taco Bell withdraws plans for new restaurant

Taco Bell withdraws plans for new restaurant

Posted on 10 September 2015 by Calvin


Taco Bell 1Taco Bell’s food fight with the St. Paul Planning Commission isn’t over yet, even though restaurant owner Border Foods has withdrawn its plans for a new restaurant. The commission’s Zoning Committee meets Sept. 10 (as the Monitor is being delivered) with city planning and Department of Safety and Inspections (DSI) staff to review compliance of the existing restaurant use with standards, conditions and permits.

The meeting isn’t a public hearing, but it’s likely a few of the restaurant’s neighbors will be on hand to hear what, if anything, can be done about what many contend are problems with late-night and early morning noise and patron behavior in the restaurant’s drive-through service. An after-bar-closing-time crowd has been blamed for loud noise and disruptive behavior. Some of the behavior has wound up on YouTube.

A restaurant has stood at 565 Snelling Ave. since Zantigo opened in 1973. At some point a drive-through window was installed, although a conditional use permit was never issued. Nor can city staff find proof that building permits were ever obtained before the window was installed. With no conditional use permit, the city never had a chance to restrict operations.

The original fast food restaurant was issued a conditional use permit, but it lacks conditions. St. Paul requires fast food restaurants to have such permits; all drive-through uses must have separate conditional use permits.

Taco Bell is on a site that was rezoned for traditional neighborhoods use, over Border Foods’ objections. That rezoning was done as part of long-range land use planning along the Green Line light-rail corridor. While it was meant to promote long-term redevelopment, the site’s small size means any redevelopment would likely require land assembly over a long time.

The Planning Commission was poised Aug. 19 to put some conditions on the new restaurant and drive-through, including closing at 1am instead of the current 5am on weekends. The commission also wanted more security as well as conditions on new building design and the number of parking spaces.

But because Taco Bell wanted longer hours and disagreed with the conditions, the new restaurant plans were withdrawn. The plans can be resubmitted in the future.
But Planning Commission members said business cannot continue as usual.

“We have some significant concerns regarding the operations by Border Foods,” said Commissioner Julie Padilla. She said the conditions hammered out were respectful to the business and its neighborhood.

Several commissioners said the result could have been a new restaurant that neighbors could live with. They want to hear from DSI about what is being done to deal with problems blamed on Taco Bell, and what changes can be made.

The commission also wants a complete look at all inspections and building-related history, including complaints about behavior. It’s not clear what would come out of that discussion and what the commission could recommend. But some commissioners said it’s obvious the city hasn’t been responsive to complaints. Border Foods has countered that it has been responsive and had worked with city staff and police to address issues.

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New Midway group takes aim at senior health

Posted on 10 September 2015 by Calvin

On Sat., Oct. 3, the Hamline Midway Health Movement (HMHM) will partner with Hamline Elementary School’s Fall Festival in a local scavenger hunt. Participants will walk from Hamline Elementary south on Snelling Ave., visiting local businesses and then return to the school. ‘Hunters’ will be given a Bingo game card with a listing of the participating local businesses noted on the card.

The goal of the scavenger hunt is for participants to walk into the businesses named on the card and receive a sticker from that business. Once the card is filled, the participants will return to Hamline Elementary and enter their completed card in a drawing for a grand prize. The Fall Festival will take place between noon and 4pm on the Hamline Elementary School grounds.

HMHM hopes the event will benefit the community in several ways. Participants will receive the benefit of exercise, fun, socialization, and getting to know neighborhood businesses. Local business will benefit from the prospect of new customers. Participating businesses are encouraged to provide the ‘hunters’ with a business card or flyer; perhaps a coupon or some other incentive to encourage our hunters to purchase from that store. This event wouldn’t be possible without the help and support of the local businesses along Snelling Ave.

Together with our community partners, we hope to improve the health of Hamline Midway adults over the age of fifty and have the Hamline Midway community be known as a “wellness district.”

HMHM is a volunteer, community-based, “grass roots” initiative whose goal is to inspire and engage seniors in the Hamline Midway area to incorporate healthier lifestyle choices into their daily lives.

Within the Hamline Midway senior community, the HMHM will host monthly educational and informative seminars, as well as provide physical and social activities with the goal of increasing the awareness and importance of self-care and prevention strategies. The larger intent is to reduce chronic health issues and the subsequent unsustainable dependency on healthcare services and a diminished lifestyle. Most importantly they hope to address the physical, mental, social and emotional concerns seniors experience and help them live their lives more fully and continue to be contributing and integral members of our community.

HMHM is in the early planning stages, but already there is synergy between this group and the community. The goal is to host a free, once-a-month gathering for Hamline Midway seniors. It could be followed by the educational programs on such topics  as Alzheimer’s and dementia, resources for caregivers, end-of-life planning, managing limited finances, teaching basic computer skills, gardening tips etc. Attendees will receive a light, healthy dinner, followed by activities such as educational speakers, exercise programs teaching yoga and Tai Chi, organized walking groups, ballroom dancing, board games, and yes, Bingo.

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St. Paul contemplates more liquor licenses on University Ave.

Posted on 10 September 2015 by Calvin


A desire to add more dining and drinking options along University Ave. and Green Line light-rail service could result in St. Paul’s largest commercial development district. The district could be established by year’s end or early 2016. City officials hope it would jumpstart redevelopment at several sites between Lexington Pkwy. and the west city limits.

The district would be one-half block deep in some areas and would extend several blocks north and south in other areas, starting at Aldine St. In the West Midway, it would extend to take in former industrial sites that are being converted for mixed-use redevelopment, going as far north as Pierce Butler Rte. It would also extend north on Snelling several blocks to Englewood Ave., to include an area recently rezoned for mixed use. And, it would extend south to Interstate 94 along Snelling. City officials are hoping that when A Line rapid bus service starts on Snelling in early 2016, the improved transit would be an incentive for economic development.

It wouldn’t include the Midway Center superblock, which is eyed as a possible new Major League Soccer stadium site.

Ward Four Council Member Russ Stark brought forward the district in response to requests from property owners. It is one of two commercial development districts pending in the city. The other is centered on the former Schmidt Brewery keg house at 882 W. 7th St., which developer Craig Cohen is converting into a festival marketplace.
“Obviously, along the Green Line, we’re looking at creating more development opportunities,” said Samantha Henningson, legislative aide to Stark. The intent is to bring in more restaurants with full liquor licenses.

“Restaurants would love to come to St. Paul. But, when there is no license available, they’re no longer interested,’” said Dan Niziolek, deputy director of the city’s Department of Safety and Inspections (DSI).

If a commercial development district is created along University, any existing on-sale liquor licenses could then be used in other places in the ward.

St. Paul has had a citywide and per-council ward cap on on-sale liquor licenses for many years. Ward Four, Ward Three and Ward Two neighborhoods outside of downtown have no licenses available. Ward One has eight licenses available. The Ward One section of the proposed commercial development district extends from Lexington to Snelling. Henningson said including that part of University is still being discussed with the Ward One council office.

DSI officials, the city’s Business Review Council and City Council members are looking at making changes to St. Paul on-sale liquor regulations, but that will mean changing the city charter. It could also mean redefining restaurants and changing the longstanding rule of 60 percent food sales to 40 percent alcohol sales for on-sale liquor licenses. The changes could take many months, so as an interim step commercial development districts have to be implemented.

Ward Four has a cap of 16 on-sale liquor licenses. The last available license was snapped up earlier this year by Episcopal Homes, a senior living campus, which offers liquor in its private dining room. One group interested in a liquor license is Can Can Wonderland, the group seeking to convert a former N. Prior Ave. can manufacturing factory into an artist-designed mini-golf course. It would include a restaurant.

Ward One has 26 on-sale licenses; eight are available. The proposed soccer stadium site is in Ward One.

Commercial development districts typically have a neighboring property owner petition process, but that would be waived in this case because of the size of the district. Instead, a public input process would be set up through the Union Park, Hamline-Midway and St. Anthony Park district councils. The councils would hold public meetings.

The city also requires that before any commercial development district goes to the Planning Commission and City Council for approval, there needs to be a public hearing in the neighborhood where the district would be located.

The City Council enacted the districts in the 1980s as a way to develop entertainment districts. But the districts have had mixed success. Downtown St. Paul has about three dozen liquor licenses, most in restaurants. Cathedral Hill’s Selby Ave. commercial development district has also thrived.

But districts established at Energy Park, University and Dale St., University and Hamline, and at the former Amtrak station on Pierce Butler Rte. have not. Energy Park only has a couple of bar-restaurants. The other districts have no on-sale licenses at all. The remaining districts are single-site districts, set up so that a specific restaurant can sell liquor. Niziolek said city officials would prefer larger commercial development districts, and not single-site districts, in the future.

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Roseville series aims to help people cope better with Alzheimer’s

Posted on 09 September 2015 by Calvin


A series of documentary movies and talks by local experts will offer area residents an opportunity to build skills and confidence as they learn more about Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia illnesses.

It is a growing issue as people live longer. About 90,000 Minnesotans have dementia, a number projected to reach 120,000 in 10 years. Overall, one in nine people age 65 and older will develop dementia, rising sharply to one in three among those 85 and older.

The series of talks and movies is sponsored by the Roseville ACT on Alzheimer’s project—part of a statewide ACT program now with 34 volunteer groups working to create “dementia-friendly” communities.

That concept focuses on building awareness, education and skills so that those with dementia can continue to live as independently as possible in their communities, helped by friends, family, neighbors businesses and city services.

The fall program will start Sun., Sept. 20, 1-4pm, with a showing of the HBO documentary “The Alzheimer’s Project: Caregivers,” at Lyngblomsten Care Center, 1415 Almond Ave.
The expert series starts 1-2:30pm, Thur., Oct. 8 at Roseville City Hall, 2660 Civic Center Dr. Neurologist Dr. Michael Rosenbloom, director of the HealthPartners Memory Clinic in St. Paul, will talk about “Understanding Dementia & Alzheimer’s Disease.”

Other talks will be:
—Oct. 15, neuro-psychologist Dr. Sonia Mosch of the HealthPartners Memory Clinic, “Testing for Dementia: Diagnosis to Treatment and Real World Implications”;
—Oct. 22, Deb Nygaard of Arthur’s Residential Care in Roseville, “Practical Tips for Avoiding Power Struggles”; and
—Oct. 29, Catherine Engstrom of Wilder Foundation Caregiver Services, “Caregiver Stress/Burnout (Taking Care of You).”

Finally, two documentaries showing how the arts help those with dementia will be presented at Lyngblomsten from 1-4pm on two Sundays. Nov. 1 will be the screening of “Alive Inside,” about the power of music to tap stored memories. Nov. 15, “I Remember Better When I Paint” will be shown.

All events are free and open to the public, and will include time for audience questions.

Warren Wolfe is a former reporter for the Star Tribune, where he wrote about aging and health care issues for more than 20 years. He is retired and is active with the Roseville Alzheimer’s and Dementia Community Action Team.

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Celebration of history planned at Hamline Methodist Sept. 27

Posted on 09 September 2015 by Calvin

Hamline Church United Methodist, 1514 Englewood Ave., will celebrate its history and its historic ties to neighboring Hamline University with a special service at 10am Sun., Sept. 27.

Bruce Ough, bishop of the Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church, will preach. Bishop Ough will help Hamline Church dedicate plaques and celebrate its accomplishments. In 2015, the church was named as a Minnesota Annual Conference Historic Site. The church also received an award for outstanding historic preservation work by the St. Paul Heritage Preservation Commission and the St. Paul Chapter of the American Institute of Architects. The church received that award as part of Preservation Month activities in May.

During the service, longtime Hamline Church member and volunteer Marguerite Pramann will be honored. Pramann has been on many church committees, served as church historian and has been active in United Methodist Women at the church and district levels.

The Sept. 27 event is also an opportunity to tour the church, meet new Hamline University President Fayneese Miller, learn about church activities and see the new community bread oven. Refreshments will be served after the service.

In recognition of the church’s 135-year history as neighbor to Hamline University, a display is now open at Klas Center at Snelling and Englewood avenues. The display includes information about church activities old and new, including the church’s Minnesota State Fair dining hall, the noted Minnesota artists whose works are featured at the church, church gardens and much more. The exhibit is free and open during Klas Center hours.

For general information about Hamline Church, go to www.hamlinechurch.org or call 651-645-0667 to speak with Pastor Mariah Furness Tollgaard.

For information about the Sept. 27 event, contact Church Historian Mary Bakeman at marybakeman@msn.com nor call 651-488-4416.

For information about, and a virtual tour of, Klas Center, go to http://www.hamline.edu/about/virtual-tour/klas-center.

For information about Bishop Ough, go to https://minnesotaumc.org/news/meet-bishop-bruce-ough.

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Posted on 03 August 2015 by Calvin

The North Dale Booster Club is currently working on their annual fundraiser/community get together, Summerfest.  It is Tuesday Aug. 11 from 5 – 8 pm at North Dale Rec. Center, 1414 St. Albans St.   We have Large Jumpers, Pony Rides, Games, prizes, Food and a raffle to help us raise funds that go to the rec. center to help with the youth programs.   Good crowds and Fun, Fun , Fun.

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Orange Crush 3

Local team Orange Crush measures success in teamwork

Posted on 06 July 2015 by Calvin

Orange Crush 3It’s baseball season, and if you’ve driven by Toni Stone Stadium (1221 Marshall Ave.), it’s likely you’ll see the bright orange jerseys of the Orange Crush baseball team.

Photo left: Tommy Freberg gets a “hi-five” from Coach Matt Dehne after a successful inning.

Orange Crush is a 14-Under baseball team playing for the St. Paul RBI program and also participating in various baseball tournaments. Coached by Matt Dehne, Todd Johnson, and Jim King, the team has been together for several years, and often enjoys success in their tournaments.

Orange Crush 1The boys developed their love of baseball by playing for the Midway Ball program in St Paul. They love playing together, particularly when the focus is more about developing the player and ensuring all the members play every game, instead of the number of wins on record.

Photo right: Photo right: Tommy Freberg, Midway resident and Como Park High School student receives coaching advice from Head Coach Matt Dehne.

“When the coaches focus on the subs on the bench, then we know the team will be successful,” commented Maureen Freberg, mother of player Tommy Freberg. “A team can only be as strong as the back-up players. I love when this team makes every player feel they are an integral part of the success of the team.”

Orange Crush 2Photo left: Midway resident, Tommy Freberg and the Orange Crush team, receiving last-minute advice from Billy Peterson, before traveling to Omaha for a tournament.

The team has received support over the years from Billy Peterson, loyal baseball enthusiast and volunteer for the St. Paul Municipal Athletics. Peterson maintains the Midway baseball field and Dunning Toni Stone Stadium. The team met with Peterson for encouragement just before traveling to Omaha for the Battle of Omaha baseball tournament. The team placed fourth in the tournament, and recently placed first in the PHDbaseball University Classic wood bat tournament.

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Development Roundup

Posted on 06 July 2015 by Calvin

Zoning changes approved
Changes to zoning in mixed-use corridors in Hamline Midway neighborhood won St. Paul City Council approval June 24. Approval follows a public hearing, at which one person testified. Earlier this year the plan won a recommendation of approval from the St. Paul Planning Commission.

The intent is to change zoning to promote long-term redevelopment as denser, mixed-use corridors. Current property uses will not have to change and can continue indefinitely.

Property owners were notified of the changes, and there was little public comment. Only one neighborhood resident, Benita Warns, has testified on the plan at City Council and Planning Commission public hearings.

She has asked that Thomas between Hamline and Pascal St. be rezoned from two-family residential to single-family residential, saying that was discussed several years ago in the community. City staff has countered that such a rezoning would make several duplexes in that area nonconforming and recommended against the change.

In December 2013, the Planning Commission passed a resolution initiating the District 11 Hamline Midway Mixed-Use Corridors 40-Acre Zoning Study. The resolution called for a study area defined as including all blocks with street frontage on Snelling and Hamline avenues between University Ave. and Pierce Butler Rte., and all blocks with street frontage on Thomas and Minnehaha avenues between Hamline and Snelling avenues. Almost a year later the commission released its findings.

Some properties along Snelling, from Pierce Butler Rte. to Sherburne Ave., will be rezoned from various commercial and residential uses to a traditional neighborhoods designation. Along Hamline Ave., properties near Minnehaha, Van Buren and Thomas avenues will be rezoned for traditional neighborhoods use.

Along Minnehaha, the Hamline Midway Branch Library, and former Knox Presbyterian Church will be rezoned. The rezoning of the library is not intended to change its use, according to city staff, but to create a contiguous zoning parcel. Another parcel rezoned for traditional neighborhoods use is the former Samaritan Hospital site, now an office and parking ramp complex, on Thomas.

To see maps and read a city staff report of the zoning changes, go to http://stpaul.gov/index.aspx?NID=5545

Skyline_TowerMore funds for Skyline Tower
Skyline Tower’s improvement project has gotten a needed boost. The St. Paul City Council, acting as the Housing and Redevelopment Authority (HRA), voted unanimously June 10 to approve a deferred $750,000 loan for the high-rise building at 1247 St. Anthony Ave.

The loan will be part of a larger funding package to rehabilitate the building, which provides housing for low-income families. The 504-unit building opened in 1971 and offers efficiency, one, and two-bedroom units. Most of the units are Section 8 housing. The building also includes staff offices and community gathering/common areas.

Skyline is the largest single HUD-subsidized building in Minnesota. Its original owner, Sentinel Management, sold the property in 1999 to CommonBond Communities. CommonBond addressed some immediate building maintenance needs after the purchase but has plans to do more work. In 2010, CommonBond refinanced the first mortgage debt through the use of a refinancing program to reduce the interest rate of its first mortgage. The capital needs assessment completed as part of the refinance identified some immediate items to be completed within 36 months. That timeline has passed so work needs to be done to keep the building from going into default with HUD.

One big need for the high-rise is to replace all windows, replace all plumbing/riser supply valves and waste and vent piping. The HRA action would allocate $750,000 of federal Community Development Block Grant funds toward the project.

Total project cost, which is being covered by number of sources, is $12.7 million.

Saxon site gets funding
An area project is among those that will be helped as the Metropolitan Council June 23 awarded more than $3.5 million in brownfield cleanup grants as part of the Livable Communities program. The funding helps create jobs, clean up land for redevelopment, increase tax base, produce affordable and market rate housing, and promote other public and private investment in the region. The council approved 16 grants to five metro area communities. The awards will help clean up 22 acres, create or retain more than 900 jobs, increase the net tax base by more than $2.8 million, help to produce and preserve 800 affordable homes, and encourage more than $338 million in private investment.

“These grants provide a remarkable return on investment and serve as a critical redevelopment tool,” said Council Chair Adam Duininck. “The funding leverages an additional investment of both public and private dollars, and the projects support job creation, increase the tax base, create housing opportunities, and promote a more livable environment.”

In addition to grants for contamination investigation and polluted site cleanup, this round of grants includes just under $200,000 in awards for a new pilot category of grants. These grants encourage development on sites in areas of concentrated poverty that show potential for job creation. One went toward work at the former Saxon Ford site on University Ave. in Frogtown. The city received $22,500 to help fund environmental site assessments and a hazardous materials abatement plan at a one-acre site on University Ave. that included both residential and commercial uses. A portion of the site once housed a gas station and was used more recently for detailing new cars.

The Council received 24 applications this funding round, requesting more than $7 million.

Ground broken for project
Ground was broken June 23 for a long-awaited housing project at 2700 University Ave. The $54 million mixed-use building will include commercial space and housing. It is being developed by Flaherty & Collins.

The six-story building will have 248 apartments, 3,000 square feet of main floor retail space and two levels of underground parking. It will include a saltwater swimming pool and a cyber café.

The site has been eyed for several years for redevelopment because of its proximity to Green Line light rail. Wellington Management had plans to build there several years ago, but those plans stalled in an economic downturn. The site is being sold to the new developers based in Indianapolis.

Most of the apartment units will be market rate, although about 50 will be reserved for people who earn 50 percent or less of the area median income.

The project has drawn on a number of financing options. The St. Paul City Council, acting as the Housing and Redevelopment Authority (HRA), voted unanimously in May to approve issuance of conduit housing revenue bonds in a maximum amount of $9 million for the project at 2700 University Ave.

Developer Flaherty and Collins plans a mixed-use project on a 1.8-acre vacant site, with 198 market rate housing units, 50 affordable housing units and 3,000 square feet of retail space.

With conduit bonds, the city serves as a pass-through source of financing. Such financing doesn’t affect the city’s credit rating.

In October 2014, the City Council and HRA approved a tax increment financing (TIF) district for the site. The project will receive $8.3 million in TIF, as well as up to $1 million in HOME funds. The project also has about $1.9 million in financing through a Metropolitan Council Livable Communities grant.

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Costa Rica students

Como Park High School news

Posted on 06 July 2015 by Calvin

Summer internships, teacher training, travel and more


• The Academy of Finance (AOF) at Como Park High School continues to successfully place students in summer internships.

Twenty AOF students began full-time internships this summer at employers including 3M, Ameriprise Financial, St. Jude Medical, Health East, and several other corporate partners.

Additionally, 45 Como students received positions with St. Paul community-based organizations through Right Track, which provides youth career development and professional skills training.

• Como teachers recently participated in the Carleton College AP Summer Institute.
The College Board requires that trained and audited instructors teach Advanced Placement courses.

Carleton’s nationally renowned summer institute provides training for both new and experienced AP teachers.

Completing the June Institute were Lindsey Lowther in Chemistry, Dylan Adair in Environmental Science, Lisa Griffin in European History, Eric Erickson in Comparative Government and Politics, and Liz Paone in World History.

Como Park provides a complete and comprehensive AP program featuring 23 College Board courses.

Como Marine Corps JROTC• 42 Como Park MCJROTC cadets traveled east in mid-June to explore national landmarks, museums and historical sites in the quest to value citizenship as responsible, informed and patriotic Americans.

Photo right: Como Park MCJROTC cadets traveled across the country from June 14-20. The cadets are pictured with the Marine One Presidential Helicopter at Marine Corps Base Quantico in Virginia. (Photo by Erwin Photography)

An aggressive itinerary included the Adler Planetarium and Willis Tower in Chicago, and Gettysburg National Battlefield, Arlington Cemetery, Mount Vernon, the Lincoln Memorial, National Mall and Virginia Beach out east.

At Marine Corps Base Quantico, the cadets toured the hangar and aircraft of Marine One (Presidential Helicopters), officer candidate school, and the martial arts instructor-training site. The cadets lodged at the group campground in Prince William Forest.
The entire trip only cost cadets $300 which included meals, museum fees, bus transportation and billeting.

The tour’s final night concluded with viewing the President’s Marine Corps Concert Band, Drum and Bugle Corps, and Silent Drill team at Marine Barracks Washington’s evening parade.

Costa Rica studentsPhoto left: Como Spanish students planted a garden with local children in Costa Rica, as part of their home stay program from June 24-July 1.

• Advanced Spanish students traveled to Costa Rica from June 24-July 1 under the leadership of Spanish teacher Kirsten Peterson. Students Mackenzie Olson,
Ella Rouillard, Betsy Woodis, Ella Calatayud, and Elianna Weirsma stayed with Costa Rican families to maximize the cross-cultural exchange. In addition to working with children, highlights included visiting an organic pineapple plantation and zip lining over the Sarapiqui River.

• As previously reported in the Monitor, Como junior Trevon Clay qualified for the State Meet in multiple events. He made the most of his moments on the big stage. After blazing through the preliminary races at Hamline University, Clay became a State Champion, crossing the finish line first in the 110 Meter Hurdles. Clay also added a bronze medal, finishing third in the 300 Meter Hurdles. Clay represented Como with great pride at the top of the podium, culminating an amazing year on the track.

• Como Boys Soccer players and Coach Jonah Fields are leading 70 of the community’s youngest players this summer in the “Soccer Stars” program.
The program is offered in Como Park’s West Picnic Grounds, in coordination with St. Paul Parks and Rec. The program gives local high school players an opportunity to connect with kids ages 4-11.
Miles Whitcomb, an 8-year-old, said, “it’s cool because Como Park has a really good team, and that helps me because I have really good people teaching me.”
Como Soccer players like Kevin Yao enjoy sharing their skills with the children of the Como Park community. “I didn’t get opportunity to learn soccer when I was so young, and I love playing with the kids,” says Kevin, a junior at Como.

• The “Fall Athletics” season begins on Aug. 17, three weeks before the first day of school.
Several Como teams and coaches are conducting voluntary workouts during June and July, in the summer waiver period.

Fall sports at Como include Soccer and Football for boys, Volleyball, Soccer, Tennis and Swimming for girls, and Cross Country running for both genders.

All students interested in a sport are welcome and encouraged to participate. More information is available at comosr.spps.org

• Save the date! An all school open house is planned for Thur., Sept. 3, 5-7pm. All incoming 9th graders and families are invited to meet Como staff, get class information, and see Como’s facilities and opportunities. Returning students and families are also invited to get oriented for the new school year and reconnect with Como staff and families.

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