The path less traveled: There was plenty of solitude -- at least in parts of the park -- after last weekend's snowfall. Photo: Nile Fellows
Board Urged to Support Zoning Variances
Developer representative Chuck Repke answers questions during the Feb. 10 Land Use meeting.
District 10's Land Use Committee's voted this week to encourage the city to approve density and parking variances so developers can convert the former Sholom Home property into rental apartments. The full Como Community Council board votes this Tuesday, Feb. 18, on whether to adopt the committee's recommendation.

The committee support came during a meeting Feb. 10 attended by more than 50 neighborhood residents. After an hour of discussion, questions, and answers about the proposed redevelopment at 1554 Midway Parkway, community members voted to support:
  • A density variance allowing the developer to build up to 150 apartments.
  • A parking variance of up to 86 spaces, on the condition that the developer actually builds the 80 off-street spaces promised in its current site plan. Read more about the redevelopment proposal and variances.
Variances are necessary in this case because the redevelopment plan does not meet the city's existing zoning code for the property. Existing zoning allows only 82 apartments. For 150 rental units, existing zoning requires 166 off-street parking spaces. What's next:
  • Board meets Tuesday: The full district council board meets this Tuesday, Feb. 18, at 7 p.m. at the Como Park Streetcar Station, 1224 Lexington Parkway N. All renters, homeowners, and other District 10 community members are welcome to attend. (At the beginning of the meeting, a city representative will outline two proposed revisions to the city's zoning code that the Planning Commission is investigating. Those proposals would allow much more density, and reduce off-street parking requirements, for properties such as 1554 Midway that are zoned multi-family.) See the full agenda for the Feb. 18 meeting
  • BZA schedules hearing Feb. 24: The district council's recommendation goes to the city's Board of Zoning Appeals, which will hold a public hearing on the developer's variance requests on Monday Feb. 24. That hearing begins at 3:30 p.m. in Room 330 of City Hall, 15 W. Kellogg Blvd.
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:
  • Next Sunday, 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. After the film, there will be Q&A facilitated by Sarah Goodspeed, who is Climate Generation's Youth and Policy Manager. The presentation is in partnership 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 M. 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.
Presidents Day Shuts Some Things Down
This Monday, Feb. 17, is the Presidents Day holiday. Federal, state, and local government offices and courts are closed. So are Saint Paul public schools, city and county public libraries, and most banks. There is no mail. Parking meters in Saint Paul are free. However:
  • Garbage and recycling schedules do not change this week (unless the weather gets in the way). 
  • North Dale Rec Center is open as usual from 9 a.m.-9 p.m.; Northwest Como opens one hour early on Monday, from 1-9 p.m. 
  • Metro Transit runs it normal weekday schedule on Monday.
Crane Shuts Down Stretch of Como, Too
Como Ave. may be closed to all traffic around-the-clock this weekend between Churchill and Oxford as construction continues on Twin Cities German Immersion School's addition. The crane that is setting exterior wall panels could remain on the street as long as this Tuesday, Feb. 18, depending on how weather affects construction activities.
They Want to Know How You Know
For a limited time only, Saint Paul Public Works has revived its survey about how you get information about snow emergencies and winter parking. You can take the survey through this Monday, Feb. 17.

City Seeks Ideas for Public Projects
Saint Paul now is accepting ideas for projects it can fund through its Capital Improvement Budget. CIB sets aside a total of $1 million over the 2020 and 2021 budget years exclusively for projects suggested by community members. Unlike in past years, ideas from community members will not compete head-to-head with more expensive projects generated by city departments.

Projects must improve public space that is owned by the city or one of its agencies and that is available for public use. The improvement should last at least 10 years. This year, special emphasis is being given to projects that enhance public safety. Share an idea

Ideas are being accepted through Wednesday March 4. After that, city staff will assess the ideas for feasibility. Eligible projects will be forwarded to district councils (which have an opportunity to evaluate ideas in their neighborhoods) and to the citywide CIB Committee (which makes final recommendations to the mayor).

Learn more about CIB online, or by attending a workshop this Wednesday, Feb. 19, from 6-7 p.m. at Hayden Heights Library, 1456 White Bear Ave.; or on Tuesday Feb. 25 from 6-7 p.m. at Rice Street Library, 1011 Rice St.
Treatments Give Lake First Aid
The Capitol Region Watershed District's brings its  Como Lake Management Plan to life in a big way this spring with two major projects soon after ice-out:
  • Herbicide treatment in April to target curly-leaf pondweed, an invasive that increases the lake's phosphorus levels and is responsible for much of the obnoxious smell we endure in late summer.
  • Alum treatment in May to lock up phosphorus that's already in the lake, and to further minimize the severity of algae blooms on the lake.
You can learn more about the treatments on your own time, or get the information firsthand at two public information meetings. Both meetings are free:
  • Monday March 2, from 6-7:30 p.m. in the third-floor Waterfall Room of the Como Lakeside Pavilion, 1360 Lexington Parkway N.
  • Saturday March 7, from 1-2:30 p.m. at the Como Park Streetcar Station, 1224 Lexington Parkway N.
Polar Weather = PolarPalooza Weekend
It's PolarPalooza Weekend at Como Park Zoo this Saturday-Monday, Feb. 15-17. Special activities include polar crafts, arctic-theme stories at noon each day, an ice-hop game, and a try-it-yourself demonstration on how warm a "blubber glove" can keep you.

There's an emphasis on the threats polar bears face in the wild, including educational demonstrations with the zoo's polar bears each day at 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. But there also will be zookeeper talks about arctic fox at 11 a.m. Saturday, and about penguins at 11 a.m. Sunday.

The zoo is open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. each day and, as always, is free.
The Jorgensens
Music Under Glass Features Jorgensens
Over at the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory, this Sunday's Music Under Glass concert features the graceful California-style R&B of The Jorgensens. The free concert is 4:30-6:30 p.m. Feb. 16. The stage is in the Sunken Garden but speakers pipe the music far and wide. You can purchase beer, wine, and snacks. 
This Weekend at the Fairgrounds
Also Happening This Week, This Month
  • This Saturday, Feb. 15: Deadline for children up to 8th grade to enter the Saint Paul Public Library's library card art contest.
  • This Sunday, Feb. 16: Winter Organ Concert Series, featuring Kathy Borgen, director of music at St. Huberts Catholic Community, Chanhassen, 4 p.m. Como Park Lutheran Church, 1376 Hoyt. Free.
  • This Tuesday, Feb. 18: What Do You Know About Elections and Cyber Security? 6:30-8 p.m. Summit Brewing Rathskellar, 910 Montreal Circle. Presented by League of Women Voters St. Paul. Free.
  • This 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
  • Next Saturday, Feb. 22: Fix-It Clinic, noon-3 p.m. Rice Street Library, 1011 Rice St. Free.
  • Thursday Feb. 27: Como Friends' Bouquets Fund-Raiser, 7:30-9 p.m. Zoo and Conservatory Visitors Center. $75.
  • Tuesday Feb. 25: Community notification meeting about Level III predatory offenders, 6 p.m. Western District police headquarters, 389 N. Hamline. The discussion includes Newton Wyatt Henderson, who has re-registered to live in the 1000 block of Avon.
  • Friday Feb. 28: Deadline to apply for 2020 Cultural STAR grants. The program supports arts and cultural activities, including capital and programming projects.
  • Saturday Feb. 29: Deadline to submit nominations for Saint Paul's Business Awards.
  • Saturday Feb. 29: Deadline to apply for Saint Paul's Right Track summer employment program, for residents ages 14-24 who live in cost-burdened households or have a barrier to employment.
Take It Straight to the Police
The Western District's monthly community meetings are this Tuesday, Feb. 18, at 9:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. at district headquarters, 389 N. Hamline. If you go, you'll meet command staff, hear about the latest crime trends in the city, be able to raise your individual concerns, and be able to grab all the crime prevention fliers you can use.  
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.