Dryland training: Geoffrey Tinsley learns fly-fishing technique on a glorious summer day in Como Park. You have to drive hours to fish for trout, but you can stand on a shore or dock at Como Lake or Lake Phalen and cast for bass or sunfish anytime you want, says his coach, Matt Tebbutt. Tebbutt has been fly-fishing for 15 years; Tinsley for 30 minutes. 
Full Speed Ahead for Como Ave. Reconstruction
A cross-section of how Como Ave. will change between Hamline and Arona.
Reconstruction of Como Ave. in District 10 begins this Monday, July 20. Crews will begin ripping up pavement and repairing sanitary sewer between Hamline and Arona.

Overall, the project will rebuild Como Ave. from Hamline west to the Raymond/Cleveland intersection. (Work already is under way west of Snelling.)  Get more details about the project, which includes the new Como Avenue Trail -- an off-street bike and pedestrian path along north of the roadway.

During construction, traffic from Como will detour along Snelling, Midway Parkway, and Hamline. Residents who live on Como Ave. in the construction zone will be able to get to their driveways from Pascal or Albert.

Expect work to last at least through October. There are three ways to keep up on the progress: Read this newsletter every week, visit the City of Saint Paul's project page, or sign up for updates the city will send every week or so via email.
Where to Start: Carbon, Racism, Money
At the Como Community Council's monthly meeting this week, representatives from Saint Paul 350 explain their campaign urging Saint Paul to oppose Xcel Energy's proposal to build a new gas plant later this decade, even though the utility has pledged to go carbon-free by 2050. Later in the meeting, the district council board will vote on:
  • Launching a group to work on anti-racism initiatives in Como
  • A revised 2020 budget that reflects the realities of how the coronavirus pandemic is affecting district council activities
The meeting begins at 7 p.m. this Tuesday, July 21. As always, all renters, homeowners, and other District 10 community members are welcome to participate via video conferencing or telephone. To join the remote meeting, email the District 10 office for access information. Preliminary agenda

The Saint Paul 350 presentation is part of an ongoing discussion taking place in the council's Environment Committee. This month, the committee held a 90-minute discussion with a representative from Xcel; next month, the committee hopes to talk with representatives from the Citizens Utility Board, to get a better understanding of how Xcel's energy choices affect what consumers pay.
Don't Forget Your Money
Renters and homeowners often forget they can get a nice chunk of change from the State of Minnesota this time of year.

For renters, it's the Renter's Property Tax Refund. It's based on the fact that some of your rent helps your landlord pay property taxes. State residents can qualify if they have a household income of less than $62,340. For a Como resident with a median household income and a median rent, the refund would be about $400. 

For homeowners who live in their house, Minnesota offers the Homestead Credit Refund, based on property taxes paid in 2019. There are two kinds of refunds; i t is possible to get both
  • The basic refund is available to homeowners with a 2019 income of less than $115,020; the refund amount is based on the property taxes paid. 
  • The special refund is available to homeowners whose net property tax increased at least 12 percent and at least $100. 
The initial filing deadline for renters and homeowners is Aug. 15.
Drop-Off Events Won't Happen
Saint Paul Public Works announced this week it will not hold any Citywide Drop-Off events in 2020. That includes the State Fairgrounds event, which tentatively had been rescheduled for Sept. 12.

The annual drop-offs typically were organized by district councils each spring and fall in different parts of the city. The events give residents an affordable and accessible way to dispose of household junk they cannot put in the trash -- or at least not trash easily.

Two spring events were cancelled long ago because of the coronavirus pandemic. The pandemic continues to create too many unknowns for fall events, says Kris Hageman, recycling programs manager for the city. 

Two months out, it's impossible to project whether state health guidelines even would permit the events, she says. Then there are the challenges of staging an event to maintain safety and social distancing, trying to predict how many volunteers would be comfortable staffing an event, acquiring appropriate personal protective equipment, and anticipating how many residents would participate if the events were significantly different from past years.

The city expects to mail a flier explaining what options residents have in disposing of  bulky items through their regular trash hauler, or utilizing private waste stations.

Liberate your plastic bags: Cub Foods stores -- at least the Roseville stores on Larpenteur and in HarMar Mall -- once again are collecting plastic bags for recycling. (Thanks to Doug Guild for the tip.)
Pavilion Restaurant Loosens Up
Dock and Paddle, the private restaurant inside the public Lakeside Pavilion, continues to modify what's possible while still adhering to Minnesota's "Stay Safe" pandemic restrictions.
  • The restaurant is adding tables in the front lawn, near the (used to be) Hamm Waterfall, and waterside near its Lakeside Treats walk-up window. The additional tables provide additional seating options -- including for diners with dogs.
  • The promenade is open to all park visitors (not just restaurant patrons), as long as everybody follows social distancing and other guidelines.
Time to Return Library Stuff
Book drops are now open at all Saint Paul Public Libraries. If you checked out books, DVDs, or other items before July 11, they are due back by Saturday Aug. 1.

Meanwhile, while the pandemic continues, this color-coded map can help you track which services are available at which libraries. Of course, go online for all the details.
What Could Make Rice St. Better?
Got thoughts about Rice Street? Ramsey County is taking advice as part of its Rice Street Visioning Study, which focuses primarily on the segment of Rice south of Wheelock Parkway. You can leave general comments, use their interactive map to highlight problems and suggestions at specific locations, or even do research on the topics under review.
The Mississippi is a Stroke Away
Get better acquainted with the Big River where you live. The vantage point is a bike or kayak. The insight is from an expert: a National Park Service ranger who staffs the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area.  Get the details and sign up The highlights: 
  • You can pedal with a ranger. A leisurely 10-mile ride travels from Harriet Island through the forest floodplains to local landmarks (including Sibley Historic Site and Bdote at Fort Snelling). Upcoming rides are today, Friday July 17, 1-3 p.m.; this Saturday, July 18, 10 a.m.-noon; this Tuesday, July 21, 6-8 p.m.; this Wednesday, July 22, 6-8 p.m.; and this Thursday, July 23, 6-8 p.m. Cost is $10. 
  • Beginners can learn to paddle with a ranger on Pickerel Lake, tucked away along Lilydale Road in Lilydale Regional Park. Hit the water this Tuesday, July 21, from 6-8 p.m.; or Wednesday July 29 from 6-8 p.m. Cost is $25, which includes a kayak, paddle, and safety vest. Participants must be 18 or older.
Put It on Your Calendar
  • This Wednesday, July 22: Utility Bill Clinic, 5-7 p.m. Experts from the Citizens Utility Board hold free telephone consultations, review your utility bills, and give advice on saving money by reducing the energy you use at home. Appointments are necessary. This will also be offered next Friday, July 24, at 11 a.m.; Wednesday July 29 at 9 a.m.; and Friday July 31 at 11 a.m.
  • This Thursday, July 23: Ramsey County Master Gardeners online workshop, "Spotting Problem Plants," 6-7 p.m. Free
  • Tuesday July 28: Ramsey County Master Gardeners online workshop, "Herb Gardening," 6:30-8 p.m. Free.
  • Friday July 31: Deadline to apply for Minnesota's temporary Pandemic EBT benefit. If you have children ages 5-18 who receive free or reduced-price meals at school, you may be eligible for up to $325 per child to purchase groceries this summer.
You Think You Know Your Neighborhood?
The Como Community Council has created a Como Scavenger Hunt. This family friendly activity helps you discover your neighborhood, past and present; get fresh air (responsibly); and exercise your body and mind along the way.  There are two hunts: one east of Lexington, one west of Lexington.   Download the lists  Speaking of our neighborhood:
Still Under Discussion
  • 978 Front Ave.: City Council has scheduled final adoption for this Wednesday, July 22, on the owner's request to rezone the property from B2 community business to T2 traditional neighborhood.
  • Twin Cities German Immersion School: City Council votes this Wednesday, July 22, on authorizing $35,000 from the Ward 5 Neighborhood STAR Grant program to help finance construction of a stone gabion fence along the east side of the school's property. In its grant application, the school committed to paying the remaining $35,000 of the fence's cost. The item is on the council's consent agenda.
  • Como Park Zoo and Conservatory: The liquor and Sunday liquor licenses are up for renewal this Thursday, July 23. Anyone who has concerns should email District 10 or contact the office of Ward 4 Councilmember Mitra Jalali.
  • D&L Food and Gas: The gas station license for this business at 626 W. Larpenteur is up for renewal on July 28. Anyone who has concerns should email District 10 or contact the office of Ward 5 Councilmember Amy Brendmoen.
  • Half-Time Rec: The liquor, gambling, and entertainment licenses for this bar and restaurant at 1013 Front are up for renewal on Aug. 21. Anyone who has concerns should email District 10 or contact the office of Ward 5 Councilmember Amy Brendmoen.
Police Plan Community Meeting in Person
For the first time since the pandemic hit, the Saint Paul Police Department's Western District intends to hold its monthly community meeting face to face. Meetings are scheduled for this Tuesday, July 21, at 9:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. at Western District headquarters, 389 N. Hamline.  Masks and social distancing will be required. If possible, the meetings will be outdoors. If the weather doesn't cooperate, the meetings will be indoors, which means attendance will be limited.

If you go, you'll meet command staff, hear about the latest crime trends in the city, be able to raise individual concerns, and be able to grab all the crime prevention fliers you can use. 
  • This week's Como community crime update: It comes in bunches.
Spread the Word
District 10 is one of Saint Paul's 17 citizen participation districts. The District 10 Como Community Council is a nonprofit organization, governed by a Board of Directors who are elected by members of the community. The Council's mission is to inform, educate, and connect the neighborhood to increase community pride and confidence. 
You are receiving this email because you expressed interest in District 10 activities.