With record participation, District 10 residents elected five new members to the Como Community Council board, and re-elected four members in voting that ended June 16. All voting this year was absentee, either through mail ballots or online voting.
In all, 275 community members voted; that’s more than double the highest number who voted in recent years, when elections were restricted to in-person voting at the district council’s annual meeting. Because of state restrictions on public gatherings during the pandemic, the district council changed its bylaws to expand voting options in 2020. Elected to two-year terms:
Vice-chair: Olivia Morawiecki (Olivia previously was an At-Large board member)
Treasurer: Mike Ireland (re-elected)
At-Large: Melissa Brannon* (newly elected) and Jill Henricksen (re-elected)
Sub-District 1: Rebecca Calvo (re-elected)
Sub-District 2: Dan Edgerton (newly elected)
Sub-District 3: Jenne Nelson (newly elected)
Sub-District 4: Rachel Bowers (newly elected)
Also, Bob Jacobson was newly elected to fill the remaining 10 months of a vacant seat in Sub-District 4.
See our annual report: Because District 10’s annual meeting took place remotely this year, board members recorded their annual report. Go to the Board News section of the Community Council’s website to find the link. It’s a roughly 20-minute video summarizing the past year’s accomplishments and challenges, and the next year’s goals.
Trail work at Como
Cancellation of the State Fair has at least one benefit: It opens a window for Saint Paul to rebuild all of Como Ave. this summer, between Hamline Ave. and the Raymond/Cleveland intersection. Originally, work was going to be split between 2020 and 2021. Now, construction is scheduled to begin in July and finish by the end of October, says project manager Don Pflaum. Trees will be planted in spring 2021.
The reconstruction includes building the Como Ave. Trail along the entire 2.5-mile stretch on the north side of Como. The off-street trail for bicycles and pedestrians is part of the Saint Paul Grand Round. Federal funds are paying for much of the work. Reconstruction also includes sewer work and reconfiguring much of the road itself:
• Hamline to Snelling: On-street bike lanes will be eliminated, and the road will narrow. Otherwise, things remain functionally as they are now: parking on both sides of the street, and one vehicle lane in each direction.
• Snelling to the Transitway: The road will narrow and be reconfigured to handle one vehicle lane in each direction, a center turn lane, and an on-street bike lane in each direction. During the two weeks of the State Fair, this stretch will be restriped to handle two vehicle lanes in each direction, similar to what occurs now.
• Transitway to Raymond/Cleveland: The street will remain pretty much as it is now: one lane of vehicle traffic in each direction, parking on each side of Como, and an on-street bike lane in each direction.
Beyond repaving parking lots
Better routing of pedestrians and bicycles near the Como Lakeside Pavilion is among initial ideas on the table when Parks and Recreation rebuilds parking lots near the pavilion and golf course next year.
Project manager Anne Gardner and her Parks and Recreation colleague, Cheeneng Yang, unveiled initial concepts for parking lot reconstruction during District 10’s Land Use Committee meeting July 1. While rebuilding the three lots, Yang and Gardner say, they hope to do more than bring lot design, stormwater management, and traffic flow up to modern standards.
One idea does a better job of separating cyclists, pedestrians, and motorists near the pavilion. The separation would occur in the stretch from where paths now converge south of the pavilion (near Schiffman Fountain) to where paths converge north of the Pavilion (near Como Lake Drive and Lexington Parkway).
Existing paths closest to the lake would be for pedestrians only. Cyclists passing through would ride on the newly repaved, two-way path along Lexington. Cyclists visiting the pavilion would take a new, two-way path that would be built along the west side of the pavilion’s south parking lot and the south side of the pavilion’s north parking lot.
Another idea builds a boat launch south of the pavilion. Yang stressed that these initial proposals are “very high-level concepts” that will be refined. Learn more – including how to add your comments and suggestions – at District 10’s website: www.district10comopark.org
Think you know neighborhood?
Como Community Council has created a Como Scavenger Hunt. This family friendly activity helps you discover our neighborhood (past and present); get some fresh air; and exercise your body and mind along the way. There are two hunts: one east of Lexington, one west of Lexington. Download the lists: www.district10comopark.org/you_think_you_know_your_neighborhood.html
* Editor’s note: At press time, a photo of Melissa Brannon wasn’t available.