Land Use Takes Up Parking, Density Variances
An architect's rendering of 1554 Midway Parkway after the proposed renovation.
This Monday, the Como Community Council's Land Use Committee will discuss -- and likely take a position on -- the requests for parking and density variances that developers are seeking so they can convert the former Sholom Home into rental apartments. Read details of the proposed redevelopment

Midway Community Group LLC wants to renovate the former nursing home and create 150 rental apartments. Variances are necessary because the developer's plan does not mesh with the city's existing zoning code for the property, which is bounded by Snelling, Midway Parkway, Arona, and Canfield.
  • RM2 multi-family zoning allows a maximum of 82 apartments on the site, but the project envisions 150 units. (For context, the former nursing home's conditional-use permit allowed 170 units.)
  • For the mix of proposed apartments, the zoning code requires 166 off-street parking spaces. The developer's latest plan, however, provides only 80 spaces: 51 surface parking spots along Canfield, plus 29 indoor spaces. That means the project is 86 parking spaces short.
District 10's Land Use Committee will consider the variance requests this Monday, Feb. 10. The meeting begins at 7 p.m. at the Como Park Streetcar Station, 1224 Lexington Parkway N. The committee also expects to hear an update on plans to open the Essence Event Center in the "chimneys" building in Bandana Square.

All renters, homeowners, and other District 10 community members are welcome to attend and participate in the meeting. A complete agenda will be posted when it is available.
Urban heat islands are one aspect of climate change that will be explored in the March 1 Sunday Series presentation. Illustration: University of Minnesota Institute on the Environment
Sunday Series Gets You Thinking
The Como Community Council's annual Sunday Series gives you six opportunities to expand your world, six Sundays in a row this winter.  All the events are free, all events run from 1-2:30 p.m., and all events include presentations and plenty of time for Q&A. A quick rundown of this year's lineup:
  • Feb. 23: Trash or Treasure. Unclutter your space, unclutter your life. With Laura Gilbert and Jennifer Victor-Larsen. Where: Como Park Streetcar Station.
  • March 1: "Minnesota Stories in a Changing Climate." This film from Will Steger's Climate Generation features six stories about how climate change already is changing our state. In cooperation with the Saint Paul Public Library's Read Brave Documentary Film Series. Where: Como Zoo and Conservatory's Visitor Center Auditorium.
  • March 8: Forgotten Como History: The 1917 Winter Carnival's 522-Mile Winnipeg-Como Park Dog Sled Race. With Drew Ross. Where: Mount Olive Lutheran Church Fireside Room.
  • March 15: Nature in Your Own Backyard. With John Moriarty, author of "Field Guide to the Natural World of the Twin Cities" and the Como Lake Turtle Study. Lakeside Pavilion's 3rd Floor Waterfall Room.
  • March 22: Old Media in a New Era: What's the Future of Local News? With Kelly Smith from the Star Tribune, Tesha Christensen from the Como Midway Monitor, and Scott Carlson from the Park Bugle. Where: Como Park Streetcar Station.
  • March 29: In Search of Justice: The Purpose and Promise of Bail Reform and Juvenile Detention Alternatives. With Ramsey County District Court Judge DeAnne Hilgers. Where: Como Park Streetcar Station.
Committee Starts Event Planning
Hosting a "neighborhood swap" in April, partnering with the Como Community Seed Library for an event in May, and organizing a neighborhood garden tour this summer are among items District 10's Environment Committee will discuss at its monthly meeting. The committee gathers this Wednesday, Feb. 12, at 7 p.m. at the Historic Streetcar Station in Como Park, 1224 Lexington Parkway N. All renters, homeowners, and other community members are welcome to attend and participateSee the complete agenda 
Como HS Explores New Soccer Tournament
A tournament for soccer players from various Saint Paul immigrant communities is being organized for this spring at Como Park Senior High School. The "All Nations Cup" would feature ad hoc teams in a round-robin tournament that could be a fund-raiser for the high school teams, coach Jonah Fields told Como Community Council's Neighborhood Relations Committee on Feb. 4.

Fields is organizing the tournament with former players and students of his, and with representatives from the Ramsey County Sheriff's Office. "Soccer is something the cultures have in common," Fields says. "We're all planning on this being an inclusive, positive, and proactive thing in our community."

The tournament would be at the high school's outdoor athletic field. Teams would play round-robin matches the weekend of May 30-31. Elimination games would be the weeknights of June 2, 3 and 5, with the final at 1 p.m. Saturday June 6. More details
A Year's Worth of Stuff to Do
Como Park Zoo and Conservatory have announced their schedule of classes, camps, school programs, and educational opportunities for 2020. Different offerings cater to families, elementary or high school students, groups, preschool and kindergarten pupils, and adults. The schedule also includes half-day and full-day summer camps for kids. See an online brochure with details, dates, costs, and registration information.
Keeping Track of City Paperwork
New this week:
  • H&M Auto Body: The garage and paint shop licenses for this business at 867 N. Dale are up for renewal on April 18. Anyone who has concerns should contact the office of Ward 1 Councilmember Dai Thao.
  • Como Park Golf Course and Club House: The liquor, Sunday liquor, and entertainment licences (currently being managed by Cozy's Pub) are up for renewal on April 18. Anyone who has concerns should contact the office of Ward 4 Councilmember Mitra Jalali.
Previously reported:
  • Residential parking permits: The City Council intends to vote this Wednesday, Feb. 12, on a new ordinance that prohibits the re-sale of residential parking permits. The meeting begins at 3:30 p.m. in the third-floor City Council chambers, 15 W. Kellogg Blvd.
  • Predatory offender: Saint Paul Police will hold a community notification meeting on Tuesday Feb. 25 about Level III predatory offenders. The discussion includes Newton Wyatt Henderson, who has re-registered to live in the 1000 block of Avon. The meeting begins at 6 p.m. at Western District headquarters, 389 N. Hamline.
  • K&L Sales: The secondhand dealer license for this used-car lot at 1523 Como Ave. is up for renewal on March 29. Anyone who has concerns should contact the office of Ward 4 Councilmember Mitra Jalali.
Grand Round Seeks Regional Designation
Saint Paul's Parks and Recreation Commission will vote this week on recommending that the Grand Round North Regional Trail be officially designated as part of the Metropolitan Regional Parks and Trails System. Designation as a regional trail would make Grand Round segments eligible for regional money to build unfinished sections and regional funding for operations and maintenance.

The North segments are those parts of the Grand Round that do not run along the Mississippi River. In District 10, they include Wheelock Parkway, Como Regional Park, and Como Ave. west of Hamline. Grand Round North segments have been under construction since 2016. The Como Ave. Trail segment -- from Hamline west to Raymond -- is scheduled to be built this summer. Construction to upgrade trails in the park remains unscheduled.

Designation by the commission would need to be approved by the Saint Paul City Council and the Metropolitan Council. The commission meets this Thursday, Feb. 13, from 6:30-8 p.m. at the Frogtown Community Center, 230 Como Ave. Also on the commission agenda: Parks and Recreations director Mike Hahm will present staff feedback on the Como Community Council's Pathways Project recommendations to improve bicycle and pedestrian trails and wayfinding in the park.
Program Seeks Education Ambassadors
CollegeBound Saint Paul is recruiting city residents to become outreach ambassadors who will promote higher education and career training among families in their community. The positions offer orientation, training, leadership development, and stipends of $100 a month. The deadline to apply is Friday Feb. 28. Interested? Email for an application
Give Your Favorite Business a Boost
Saint Paul is seeking nominations for its annual Business Awards. The four categories:
  • Traditions: A business that has been active for more than 20 years.
  • New Kid on the Block: A business that opened in Saint Paul within the last five years.
  • Good Neighbor: A business that shows a dedication to improving the community.
  • People's Choice: A business recognized for its excellence by Saint Paul residents.
Get more information or nominate your choice (or even yourself). The deadline is Saturday Feb. 29.
Draw Some Inspiration at the Library
There's one week left in the library card art contest for children up through 8th grade. Winners will see their design on actual Saint Paul Public Library cards, plus receive a $40 gift certificate to one of five shops of their choice. Entries are due by next Saturday, Feb. 15. The contest is part of this year's Read Brave activities. Get all the details
Council Wants to Partner with Artists
The East Side's Payne-Phalen Community Council, in collaboration with Springboard, is hiring two artists to help re-imagine and update its community plan. Information sessions are this Tuesday, Feb. 11, from noon-1:30 p.m. and 6:30-8 p.m. at Arlington Hills Community Center, 1200 Payne Ave.
Accordion Orchestra Heats Up Sunday
This Sunday's Music Under Glass concert features the eclectic dance music of District 10's own Cafe Accordion Orchestra. The free concert is 4:30-6:30 p.m. Feb. 9 in the Sunken Garden of the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory, but speakers pipe the music far and wide. Beer, wine, and snacks are for sale. 
We Try to Keep You in the Loop
  • This Saturday, Feb. 8: Senate District 66 Town Hall, 10-11:30 a.m. Falcon Heights City Hall, 2077 W. Larpenteur. With State Sen. John Marty and State Reps. Alice Hausman and John Lesch.
  • This Sunday, Feb. 9: Winter Organ Concert Series, featuring Richard Grey, director of music for St. John the Evangelist Episcopal Church, Saint Paul, 4 p.m. Como Park Lutheran Church, 1376 Hoyt. Free.
  • Tuesday, Feb. 18: Como Community Council monthly meeting. 7 p.m. Historic Streetcar Station in Como Park.
  • Tuesday Feb. 18: Speak Out Against Sexual Assault and Human Trafficking, 7-8:30 p.m. St. Timothy Lutheran Church, 1465 N. Victoria. With Ramsey County Attorney John Choi and Cynthia (CeCe) Terlouw, executive director of Terebinth Refuge. Free
  • Saturday Feb. 22: Fix-It Clinic, noon-3 p.m. Rice Street Library, 1011 Rice St.
  • Thursday Feb. 27: Como Friends' Bouquets Fund-Raiser, 7:30-9 p.m. Zoo and Conservatory Visitors Center.
  • Friday Feb. 28: Deadline to apply for 2020 Cultural STAR grants. The program supports arts and cultural activities, including capital and programming projects.
Learn More at Civilian Police Academy
Saint Paul Police are taking applications for their 2020 Civilian Police Academy. The free, 10-week course provides a behind-the-scenes look at police policy, practices, training, units, and more. Participants must be at least 18 years old, pass a background check, and commit to attending three-hour sessions each week. Enrollment is limited to 20. Applications are due by Friday Feb. 28. For information, email Phoung Chung.
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.