This week I want to begin by congratulating Mayor Carter and the winning slate of school board candidates on their election, and also thank all the candidates and voters for participating in this year’s election. The notion that “all politics is local” has been around as long as democracy itself, and yet voter turnout consistently disappoints in our “off-year” local elections. Last year (2020), there were 152,614 votes cast in Saint Paul. This year, it only took 30,965 votes to enact an ordinance that threaten our goals for growth and density in downtown Saint Paul. This is an unfortunate reminder that voting is especially important in our odd-numbered local election years. We will be working closely with our partners at the Saint Paul Area Chamber to track the impacts of this ordinance on residential investments in our city. With so much lingering uncertainty around the implementation, enforcement and long-term impact of this ordinance, we are concerned about the likely chilling effect it will have on creating new units. The Mayor has promised to revise and improve the law, and we will be working with him and the city council to add an exemption for new units so downtown can resume its residential growth.
In other news around downtown, it was exciting to participate in a walking tour with the Great River Passage and internationally renowned design team Field Operations to begin the schematic design process for the River Balcony. Especially exciting is the RiversEdge project that will physically connect downtown to the Mississippi River with its magnificent staired terrace over the streets and railroad. This project will realize the vision that’s been talked about for generations of connecting to the river.
As cooler temps send much of our activity indoors, the good news is that our venues have calendars that are heating up. Whether its Wild hockey, improv comedy, classical music or Americana concerts, there is still a lot of activity in downtown Saint Paul. Check out the info below…