Repave Summit with bricks

I suggest that the city of Saint Paul leave Summit Avenue in its present configuration, but take all of the blacktop off, put in a deep European-style underlayment and pave the entire street with bricks, as it once was. There are lots of advantages to bricks. They last almost forever. When an area needs to be dug up for any utility repairs, the bricks can be taken up and laid down again. Snowplows? So what? They can set their blades so as not to disturb the brickwork.

The huge benefit of bricks is better drainage the entire length of Summit with less runoff going into the river. The new street can be striped for parked cars and bike lanes in both directions. And with more trees added.

Don’t want to use bricks? How about end-cut square blocks of hardwood. In 2018 I saw a 500-year-old street in southern England made with such. It’s amazing what technology doesn’t have to improve on.

In Cuenca, the third largest city in Ecuador, I saw a work crew dig up part of a brick street adjacent to the main plaza to repair a water main. When I passed by a few hours later, the original dirt and bricks were nearly all in place. Talk about conserving materials.

It seems that a lot of minds in this city don’t think outside the box. Can we work a little harder and think a little harder about saving what’s left of our precious planet?

Kathleen Deming
Macalester-Groveland

New barriers on river road

Representatives of Paster Properties met with Saint Paul officials and a large group of Highland Park residents on September 14. The meeting took place after Paster had been granted provisional approval for a new 93-unit apartment building in the Mississippi River Corridor Critical Area.

 

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It would be unfair to stereotype these concerned Highland residents as NIMBYs. Their contributions to the meeting were eloquent, well-reasoned and caring. Instead of complaining, they asked for a more moderate 35-foot building height to preserve a natural neighborhood environment. But even the stand of semi-mature trees requested by homeowners as privacy between the new building and an old and cherished residential community was rejected.

The height of a boundary wall between the new and existing neighbors was debated. A barrier of 6 or 7 feet? This represents a tragic divide for taxpaying citizens of Highland Park. City Council member Chris Tolbert accurately identified this when he explained that all 93 luxury apartments were needed to address a lucrative up-market rental trend that affords millennials and retirees a newly prefabricated lifestyle in a scenic neighborhood.

There are no assurances that this current market trend will be permanent. However, the permanent traffic and the new 50-foot barrier for bald eagles will decrease the eagles’ ability to procreate. The 50-foot building and 7-foot wall will divide human residents of the area. Let’s advocate for a more community-conscious and greener development at 706 S. Mississippi River Blvd.

Deborah Katz
Highland Park

Righting a wrong in Rondo

The new Highland Bridge development on the old Fort Plant site is starting to open. What I see so far exceeds my expectations. The daylighted stream, hammock groves, bike paths and the Lunds & Byerlys store will make this a delightful place to live and play.

Highland Bridge would not be possible without the high land values in Highland Park with its close (but not too close) access to major highways. Not so for Saint Paul’s old Rondo neighborhood. There is a very unjust history there, and the comparison of Highland Bridge to the current efforts to build the Rondo Land Bridge over I-94 is unsettling.

I don’t have the answers, but I think we can and should do better. As one lucky enough to live in the Highland Park neighborhood, I implore our elected officials at the city, county and state levels to keep the pressure on for the Rondo Land Bridge and other actions to address this ugly chapter of our local history.

Bob Seng
Highland Park

Take action on climate change

I appreciate that MyVillager is a local news organization (Thank you for doing a great job!) and that climate change is considered to be a state, national or global problem. But I’m worried that we’re not making changes and I think we need to make it a local issue by taking grassroots action.

Are you thinking about investing in solar panels or an electric car? Do it! You’ll save money in the long run and set an example for your friends and neighbors. Or see if your church or school might be able to go solar and get the ball rolling.

Not possible? How about finding ways to drive less or to buy and use less plastic. Maybe plant some native vegetation or a tree, or save trees by using paper products made from 100 percent recycled materials. Or start composting; the new drop-off site at the Highland Ice Arena makes it easy.

Drops in the bucket? Yes. But drops add up, and if you take action, however small, and talk about it, you might get others to join in. By all means vote for candidates at all levels who want to help our environment, but take individual action, too.

Cathy Ruther
Highland Park

Vote Maczko for mayor of MH

I support John Maczko to be the next mayor of Mendota Heights. He has lived in Mendota Heights for most of his life, attending the former Sibley High School before receiving his civil engineering degree at the University of Minnesota. He has spent his career as a professional engineer working in and around Mendota Heights. Two items of importance to me are the certification of Mr. Maczko as a professional traffic operations engineer and his 32-year tenure as Mendota Heights fire chief.

During the past year, the present mayor and two members of the Mendota Heights City Council twice rejected the recommendations of the Mendota Heights Planning Commission to deny permits for the construction of two high-density apartment buildings at the southeast corner of Dodd Road and Highway 62. The City Council approved both projects by identical 3-2 votes with the present mayor casting the deciding vote.

The Planning Commission was concerned with the inevitable increase in traffic congestion and delays and the probable increase in accidents that these developments would bring to that intersection. The Mendota Heights Fire Department and EMT ambulance dispatch facility are less that 200 feet from the entrance to this development.

I have discussed this issue with candidate Maczko, and he is in full support of the recommendations reached by the Planning Commission. Please vote for John Maczko for mayor of Mendota Heights.

Edward Hanton
Mendota Heights

Do write

MyVillager welcomes letters to the editor and longer guest editorials. All commentary must be signed, indicate the neighborhood in which the writer lives and include a phone number for verification purposes. Please,  send your commentary to MyVillager, 241 S. Cleveland Ave., Suite V, Saint Paul, MN 55105, email it to letters@myvillager.com or submit it via our website at myvillager.com/editorial. The views expressed are not the views of MyVillager.

 

 

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