Parks Examine if Paid Parking Would Pay Off
The city's Parks and Recreation Department is conducting a study of the potential impacts of introducing paid parking in Como and other regional parks. As part of the study, Como Zoo and Conservatory is conducting detailed surveys to get feedback from users and community members on issues such as how often they visit, the quality of their experience, and different options for paid parking. Take the survey

Director Mike Hahm told the Parks and Recreations Commission last month that the study is intended to collect data and analyze how much paid parking would cost to implement, what kind of revenue it might generate, how it could affect attendance and use of parks, how it could affect other revenue collection, how it could be enforced, how revenue from parking fees could be used, and other impacts (such as pushing more parking onto neighborhood streets).

Hahm stressed that the study is still  gathering information, that a study is not a decision, and that no money is included in anybody's 2020 budget for paid parking. He noted that the idea has been kicked around in Saint Paul for at least 10 years, and that Minneapolis has been doing paid parking in selected parks for several years.
The detour route during the scheduled Lexington crosswalk construction.
Where Have We Heard This Before?
Construction of the long-delayed crosswalk and pedestrian median connecting the Lakeside Pavilion side of Lexington Parkway with the golf course side is supposed to start on Monday Oct. 14. It should last two weeks, depending on the weather. During construction, Lexington will be closed weekdays from 7 a.m.-4 p.m. between the golf course parking lot and the Pavilion's north parking lot. 

The marked detour will steer southbound traffic up the hill at East Como Blvd., along Arlington to Victoria, to Nagasaki, to Horton, and back on Lexington. Northbound traffic will be detoured along the same route in reverse.
An architect's rendering of the main entrance on Midway Parkway.
Sholom Home Plan Comes into Focus
The former Sholom Home will be renovated into 150 rental apartments -- 80 percent of them studio or one-bedroom units of 600 square feet or less, according to updated plans shared with District 10's Land Use Committee Oct. 2. Read more details

But the project will need the neighborhood to go along with a substantial parking variance, said Chuck Repke, a representative of Midway Community Group Redevelopment. The company, headed by Minneapolis developer Jeffrey Laux, is buying the former nursing home property at 1554 Midway Parkway through foreclosure.

The site currently has 65 surface parking spaces on its Canfield side; plans call for adding 10 more spaces on-site near Canfield and Arona, and 25 indoor spaces in the west building. But that could be more than 75 short of what city zoning requires.

"It comes down to parking," Repke told more than three dozen neighbors at the meeting. "You have to make a serious decision: Is the building worth saving? This can work, but it comes with a dilemma."

Owners want to keep the four buildings intact, Repke stressed, in part to make the project distinctive from newer developments such as those on south Snelling. But "creative re-use" comes with trade-offs, he said, including the parking challenge. Besides, the parking crunch may not be as severe as neighbors fear, Repke said.

He expects the building to be one of the most transit-friendly available. As a result, he believes it can be marketed successfully to renters who choose not to have a car, such as empty-nesters, young professionals, and graduate students at the nearby Hamline University and University of Minnesota campuses. Read more details
Live in South Como or Energy Park?
This Tuesday, Oct. 8, is the last day get on the ballot to fill a vacant seat on the Como Community Council Board from Sub-District 4 -- which essentially is South Como and Energy Park ( see the map). The candidate will fill the remaining six months of the term, until April 2020.

To get on the ballot, apply online by Tuesday. All renters, homeowners, and other residents age 16 or older who live in the sub-district are eligible to run. So are authorized representatives from a business or nonprofit organization located in the sub-district. ( Candidates who don't make the ballot deadline can still run as a write-in.)  The special election will be Tuesday Oct. 15 at 7 p.m.
Ward 5 Forum is This Thursday
A public forum for candidates running for the Ward 5 seat on the Saint Paul City Council takes place this Thursday,  Oct. 10, from 7-8:30 p.m. at Washington Technology Magnet School, 1495 Rice St. (Ward 5 covers the part of District 10 roughly east of Lexington and north of Front.)

The free forum is being organized by the Como Community Council, North End Neighborhood Organization, Payne-Phalen Community Council, and League of Women Voters Saint Paul. Candidates on the ballot (in alphabetical order) are Bob Blake, Amy Brendmoen, Jamie Hendricks, and Suyapa Miranda.
Your Last Chance for the Season
Bring your canoe or kayak next Saturday, Oct. 12, as neighbors team up to pull trash from Como Lake. If you don't want to be on the water, join us by walking the shoreline and cleaning up litter there. We'll supply snacks, beverages, and equipment. Organized by the District 10 Como Community Council; supported by a grant from the Capital Region Watershed District.

Details: Saturday Oct. 12, 9 a.m.-noon. Meet near the docks outside the Lakeside Pavilion.  Register now
Como Homecoming is More than Football
Como Park Senior High School continues to expand its Homecoming festivities. Yes, there's a football game (against Minneapolis Southwest) at the school's athletic field at 1 p.m.  But before that:
  • Beginning at 9:30 a.m., there are benefit runs of 5K, 3,000 meters, and 400 meters that will utilize the school's track and the path around Como Lake. 
  • From 10 a.m.-4 p.m., enjoy food trucks, music, and more. 
  • Finally, a homecoming dance in the school runs from 7-10 p.m.
como curb cleanup
It's Time to Do It Again
For 10 years, the Como Active Citizens Network has been organizing the Como Curb Cleanup. How you participate is simple: When you rake leaves, rake them out of the street and gutter, too. Why you should participate is simple, too: By keeping leaves and grass clippings out of the gutter, you keep more phosphorus out of our waterways. The payoff? Next summer, Como Lake is less likely to be the stinky, green mess is was this summer.

Phosphorus and other destructive nutrients leach out of leaves when they get wet -- much like a teabag. And the city's curbs, gutters, and storm sewers are extremely efficient at washing those nutrients straight into the lake or river. We've seen, and inhaled, the results.

The Como Curb Cleanup is hoping for 150 "demonstration houses" this year -- residents who commit to keeping curbs and storm drains clear, and encouraging neighbors to do the same thing. Sign up or find out more
Getting Rid of Those Leaves
Once you rake your leaves, you cannot burn them. But you can compost them at home. Or, you can arrange to have your yard waste hauler take them away. Or, you can take them to a Ramsey County yard waste site. Here are tips from the county on how to avoid the lines that sometimes result this time of year:
  • Avoid being there when the site opens.
  • Go during the week. If you must go on a weekend, Saturday mornings from 9:15-10:30 a.m. can be less busy.
  • Avoid weekends when the weather is warm and dry.
  • Instead, go during cold or rainy weather -- or when the Vikings are playing.
  • Drive farther and use the Battle Creek site; it usually is less busy than the Midway or Frank and Sims sites.
Sites are open Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 11 a.m.-7 p.m.; Saturdays from 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; and Sundays 11 a.m.-5 p.m. (That means they're closed Tuesdays and Thursdays.)
Fires Can Cause a Neighborly Chill
Colder weather and earlier nights make it more tempting to build a backyard fire. Just remember: smoke from recreational fires can bother neighbors -- and be a health risk, especially to elderly residents, young children, and those with asthma or chronic health issues.
Recreational fires are legal in the City of St. Paul, if they meet certain conditions. These conditions include:
  • Fires can be no larger than 3 feet in diameter and 2 feet high. Fires larger than this require a burn permit.
  • You cannot burn garbage, paper products, leaves, grass clipping, plastics, treated lumber, or construction lumber in a backyard fire.
  • Fires must be at least 25 feet from any building or from any combustible material, unless they are in an approved container. Fires in an approved container must be at least 15 feet from a building or combustible material.
  • You must stay with a fire until it completely burns out or you extinguish it. There must be a way to extinguish a fire, and someone present who knows how to do it.
  • Burning green or wet wood, or burning leaves or other illegal material, produces more smoke and noxious fumes. If your fire does this, it's considered a public nuisance; that means the fire department could put it out for you.
Speaking of fire: Northwest Como Recreation Center holds its annual Halloween bonfire on Friday Oct. 25 from 6-8 p.m. They're looking for volunteers to help on 90-minute shifts: 5:30-7 or 7-8:30 p.m. If you can pitch in, contact Teresa Little by email or by phone at 651-298-5813.
Shuffling Through the Paperwork
Updates from city hall:
  • Canfield Ave.: The city is reviewing an application to vacate the stub end of Canfield where it dead-ends at Snelling Ave. Billy Turner, who converted the former firehouse at 1290 N. Snelling into a private residence, told District 10's Land Use Committee Oct. 2 that he wants to purchase the street to add a yard and increase security near the property. Neighbors raised concerns about the loss of parking and potential loss of sidewalk access to Snelling. A public hearing will take place before the City Council makes a final decision.
  • Speedway: The gas station license and liquor license for the convenience store at Lexington and Front are up for renewal on Dec. 1. Anyone who has concerns should contact the office of Ward 1 Councilmember Dai Thao.
  • Carter's BP: The gas station license for the business at Como, Front and Dale is up for renewal on Dec. 29. Anyone who has concerns should contact the office of Ward 5 Councilmember Amy Brendmoen.
  • The property owner at 1428 Almond has applied for a short-term rental license.
  • The property owner at 1496 Maywood St. has applied for a family foster care license with Ramsey County; anyone with concerns should call 651-266-3929.
The Fall Flower Show opens Saturday. Photo: Teresa Boardman
In the Big Park This Week
  • Movies in the Park: Hocus Pocus: Tonight, Friday Oct. 4. Picnic Pavilion, Como Ave. and Midway Parkway. Food trucks, exhibits, and activities begin at 6 p.m.; movie begins at dusk. Free.
  • Fall Flower Show: This Saturday, Oct. 5. Sunken Garden at the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory. The annual explosion of chrysanthemums, offset with Swiss chard and Chilly chili peppers, opens this weekend and runs daily from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. through Dec. 1. Free-will donation.
  • Immune Deficiency Foundation Walk for Primary Immunodeficiency: This Saturday, Oct. 5, 11 a.m. Midway Picnic Pavilion.
  • Spring Cafe: Beginning this Saturday, Oct. 5, the restaurant will open only on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
  • Cozy's Pub at Como Golf Course: The clubhouse restaurant also is scaling back for the season. It's still serving a full menu on Fridays and Saturdays this month from 11 a.m.-8 p.m. But on Sundays through Thursdays, it offers only a limited food menu (such as hot dogs and bratwurst) and closes at 7 p.m.
  • Hope of Uganda Walk Run: This Sunday, Oct. 6, Midway Picnic Pavilion and lake path.
  • American Sign Language Interpretive Day: This Sunday, Oct. 6. Como Park Zoo and Conservatory. On the first Sunday of every month, the regular educational talks will have on-site interpreters translating the presentation into American Sign Language. The 10-minute talks take place from 11 a.m.-2 p.m.
Don't Forget the Marathon Sunday
  • Twin Cities Marathon: Mississippi River Boulevard and Summit Ave. will be out of commission this Sunday, Oct. 6, from 7 a.m.-4:30 p.m. (unless you're on two feet). If you're trying to cross Summit in a vehicle, expect delays and detours.
  • Wheelock Parkway: There's visible progress, but most of the parkway is still under construction from the Arlington intersection east toward Rice St.
Fairgrounds Has Oktoberfest and More
  • Snowplow Operations Training: Through today, Friday Oct. 4, parking lot south of Como.
  • Minnesota Harvest Horse Show: Through this Sunday, Oct. 6, Warner Coliseum. Opens 7:30 a.m. Free spectator admission. Grand Prix of Minnesota Show: this Saturday, Oct. 5, 6:30-9 p.m. Admission: Ages 11 or older, $13 in advance, $15 at the door; children 10 or younger, free.
  • Half Price Books Clearance: Today-Sunday, Oct. 4-6, Grandstand. Hours: 9 a.m.-6 p.m. daily. Free admission.
  • Twin Cities Oktoberfest: Today-Saturday, Oct. 4-5, Progress Center. Hours: Friday, 5-11 p.m.; Saturday, noon-11 p.m. Admission: $10-$35 (adults only); discounts available.
  • Minnesota Comic Book Association Fall Convention: This Saturday, Oct. 5, Education Building. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. 
  • Parking and shuttle for University of Minnesota football game: This Saturday, Oct. 5, Robin Lot (south and east of Randall Ave.). The Gophers play Illinois at 2:30 p.m.
Days are Shorter but Still Busy
  • This Saturday, Oct. 5: Burglary prevention open house, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Arlington Hills Community Center, 1200 Payne Ave. (a block south of Maryland). Drop in anytime to get your questions answered about lighting, locks, target hardening, and more. Plus take part in hands-on demonstrations to make your home safer.
  • This Tuesday, Oct. 8: Workshop on accessory dwelling units, 5:45-8:30 p.m. Capitol Region Watershed District's Mississippi River Room, 595 Aldine St. (at Thomas). Free, but advance registration required.
  • This Wednesday, Oct. 9: District 10 Environment Committee, 7 p.m. Como Park Streetcar Station, which is at the northeast corner of Lexington and Horton. Renters, homeowners, and other community members are always welcome to attend and participate. See the preliminary agenda
  • Next Friday, Oct. 11: Grand Opening: Capitol Region Watershed District, 3-7 p.m. 595 Aldine St. (at Thomas). Food trucks, music, water bar, activities for kids, and tours of the new headquarters.
  • Tuesday Oct. 15: Ward 1 City Council candidate forum, 6:30-8 p.m. Hallie Q. Brown Community Center, 270 N. Kent St. (sponsored by the League of Women Voters St. Paul). Candidates (in alphabetical order) are Anika Bowie, Liz De La Torre, Abu Nayeem, and Dai Thao. Ward 1 includes the part of District 10 south of Front and east of Lexington.
  • Tuesday Oct. 22: Financial Workshop: Fast Lane to Debt Freedom, 6 p.m. Como Park Streetcar Station, 1224 Lexington Parkway N. Free. Learn how to get off the debt treadmill and steer clear of debt "settlement" scams. Presented by TopLine Federal Credit Union and LSS. Register online or by calling 763-391-9494.
Get the Right People to Watch Your Home
If you're going be away for a few days, or even 30 days, take advantage of the Saint Paul Police Department's free House Watch program. Volunteer reserve officers from the department's Community Partnerships Unit will drive past your home on a regular basis and check for signs of forced entry. Sign up at least one week in advance: Call 651-266-5485 or fill out the online form.
Photo: Teresa Boardman
Streetcar Station is Open Sunday
Beginning this week, Oct. 6, the Como Park Streetcar Station is open only on the first Sunday of the month, from noon-4 p.m. It is still a great chance to learn a little about the long-gone trolley system in the Twin Cities, about the history and visionaries behind Como and the city's overall park system, to pick up organics recycling bags or kitchen starter kits, or just to chat with a District 10 board member who is staffing the day. The Historic Streetcar Station is at the northeast corner of Lexington and Horton.
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.