District councils support UST’s proposal to replace Loras Hall

The University of Saint Thomas’ request to demolish Loras Hall to make way for a new science and engineering building will be taken up by Saint Paul’s Heritage Preservation Commission (HPC) on November 30 with votes of support from the Macalester-Groveland Community Council on November 12 and the Union Park District Council’s Land Use Committee on November 16. The West Summit Neighborhood Advisory Committee heard an update on the demolition request on November 10, but took no action.

UST wants to demolish Loras to make way for a new STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) building on Summit Avenue, just west of the Frey Science and Engineering Center. Loras was built in 1894 as a residence for Saint Paul Seminary students.

Some people argue that its history and its design by architect Cass Gilbert make it worthy of preserving. UST officials have argued the high cost of maintaining Loras, as well as the difficulty in trying to renovate it for anything other than offices.

Loras is located in the Summit Avenue West Historic District, requiring HPC approval before the city can issue a demolition permit.

Retirement of Ward 3’s Kelley marks end of an era in St. Paul

The Saint Paul City Council on November 18 honored Ward 3 executive assistant Pattie Kelley and declared her retirement date of December 1 as Pattie Kelley Day in the city.

Ward 3 council member Chris Tolbert expressed his appreciation for Kelley’s years of service and said she would be missed by the many people she helped. He praised her ability to get things done, but could not resist joking about her past job title of “secretary/stenographer.” Kelley is believed to be the last city employee to hold that job title.

Kelley thanked everyone she worked with over the years. The Central High School graduate began working for the city in 1980. She started in the Planning and Economic Development Department (PED), worked in the city clerk’s office, did a stint with the Saint Paul Public Schools and joined the city’s Department of Public Works in 1993.

She later went to work for then-City Council member Janice Rettman, went back to PED in 1997, and returned to the City Council offices in 2006, working for Pat Harris and Tolbert in Ward 3.

Kelley has one son, Jesse, who is a military veteran. She once headed the local chapter of Blue Star Mothers of America, which provides support for women who have children in active military service.

 

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Loras Hall at the Unilversity of Saint Thomas.

Advisory committee members sought for Riverview Corridor

Ramsey County is forming two public advisory groups for the proposed Riverview Corridor modern streetcar project. Applications for both the Community Advisory Committee and the Station Area Planning Task Force will be accepted through December 15.

The committees will serve during the project’s engineering and pre-environmental study phase, which is expected to last from early 2021 to late 2023. The Community Advisory Committee will meet quarterly, and the Station Area Planning Task Force will meet every one or two months. Each committee will be composed of 15-20 members. 

Committee members will be selected to provide broad geographic representation as well as racial and cultural diversity along the project area. Membership is expected to balance residents and potential users, business owners and employees, and others with connections to the corridor. 

The Riverview Corridor is a proposed 12-mile mass transit link from downtown Saint Paul to Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport and the Mall of America. The modern streetcar line would include the use of existing light-rail stations and tracks at the Union Depot and near Fort Snelling. Nine new stations are planned along West Seventh Street in Saint Paul.

Applications may be submitted to riverviewcorridor.com. For details, contact Kevin Roggenbuck at 651-266-2790 or kevin.roggenbuck@ramseycounty.us (Community Advisory Committee), or Frank Alarcon at 651-266-2795 or frank.alarcon@ramseycounty.us (Station Area Planning Task Force).

News Briefs were compiled by Jane McClure and John Wadell.

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