Applicants sought to fill School Board seat until Nov. 3 election

The St. Paul Public Schools is accepting applications to fill the vacancy on its seven-member School Board created upon the death of former board chair Marny Xiong in June. Applications will be accepted until 5 p.m. Tuesday, July 21. Interviews will take place at a special meeting of the School Board on Monday, July 27. The selected applicant will serve on the board until a special election is held in conjunction with the general election on Tuesday, November 3.

To be eligible to serve on the School Board, applicants must be at least 21 years old, a resident of the school district for at least 30 days prior to their appointment, eligible to vote, and never convicted as a sex offender.

To apply, send a letter describing your interest in the position and a resume with day and evening phone numbers, e-mail address or fax number to Sarah Dahlke, Board Secretary, St. Paul Public Schools, 360 Colborne St., St. Paul MN 55102 or sarah.dahlke@spps.org. For information, visit spps.org/boe.

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Summit Hill House Tour is latest victim of coronavirus pandemic

The Summit Hill Association voted on June 25 to cancel this year’s Summit Hill House Tour, which was set for September 13, due to safety concerns associated with COVID-19.

Instead, the SHA will work with the Ramsey Hill Association to hold a joint house tour in 2021. The district council and the neighborhood association have alternated hosting house tours for years. The events are major fundraisers for both organizations.

The house tour joins a long list of annual events, including Grand Old Day, Highland Fest and Rondo Days, that have been canceled this year due to the pandemic.

SHA began discussing the prospect of no 2020 house tour earlier this year. With uncertainty about the pandemic, board members said a postponement and a change in direction were necessary.

“I think it could be a win-win for both groups,” said SHA executive director Monica Haas. She said a joint tour could be “bigger and better” than what has been held before.

People who have already purchased tickets for this year’s tour should contact the SHA office at 651-222-1222 for information.

United Village and Uni-Fairview projects receive cleanup grants

The Metropolitan Council last month awarded $3 million in polluted-site cleanup grants and $500,000 in additional grants that promote redevelopment and economic opportunity in the region. The grants are expected to help clean up 33 acres, create or retain more than 600 full-time jobs, and help to produce and preserve more than 1,200 homes.

Two local projects received cleanup grants. The United Village Midway Block B development west of Allianz Field was awarded $125,000 for the cleanup of a 2.4-acre site that is currently a surface parking lot. Plans call for 234 market-rate apartments and 15,500 square feet of commercial space over structured parking.

Receiving a $111,800 grant was developer Reuter Walton to clean up a 3.2-acre site that currently has four vacant buildings and surface parking at the northwest corner of University and Fairview avenues. The development will include 280 affordable apartments and 2,440 square feet of commercial space with underground and surface parking.

The Met Council also awarded a predevelopment grant of $100,000 to the YWCA of St. Paul, which is looking to redevelop its property at Selby and Western avenues.

Keystone Community Services, which wants to build a new food distribution site near Lexington Parkway and University Avenue, was also awarded a $100,000 predevelopment grant.

The St. Paul City Council in June applied for additional grants, including $500,000 for the Reuter Walton project and $600,000 for a housing project by PAK Properties at 1619 Dayton Ave., just north of the former Richards Gordon School.

HRA grants $98K for apartments serving homeless in Lowertown

The St. Paul Housing and Redevelopment Authority board voted unanimously on June 24 to approve a forgivable loan of $98,000 to boost the capital reserves at American House Apartments in Lowertown as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

American House, 352 Wacouta St., has 70 single rooms for adults who have been homeless. The building was acquired by Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative in 2010 from the Wilder Foundation. The project does not generate cash flow. With its shared space, it also poses increased health risks during the pandemic. Residents face elevated risks of becoming sick because many have underlying health conditions or disabilities.

Current tenants in some units may be unable to meet their rent obligations due to the economic impact of the pandemic. The property owners also are experiencing higher operating costs related to increased cleaning and other health measures. Federal Housing and Urban Development officials are allowing projects like American House to set up capitalized reserves to preserve the financial viability of the housing.

News Briefs were compiled by Jane McClure and Dale Mischke.

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