2015 was busy year in Ward 3; lots of redevelopment and a
headache of a road construction summer. I am grateful to all of you who took
the time to email or call my office about these issues and many more. Your
feedback helped me fight for what’s right in Ward 3 and the City of Saint Paul.
I know 2016 is sure to be just as full- with the Ford Site, the Riverview
Corridor Study and a Snelling Zoning study coming down the pipe. Keep sharing
your thoughts and concerns as we work together to make Ward 3 the best it can
be. Below are some highlights of 2015. I
wish you and your loved ones a happy New Year!
2016 Budget Wrap Up
On Wednesday, December 16, 2015 the City Council passed the 2016 City budget. The budget protects expanded library hours, supports street reconstruction efforts and maintains the high level of city services that we expect from Saint Paul. I’m pleased that funding for the Fire Station 19 expansion and Highland Community Center Play Area renovation was included. The Council added three key budget items to the Mayor’s proposal:
· Funding for a Safe Routes to School pilot program in partnership with Saint Paul Public Schools and Ramsey County Public Health. The pilot program will double the Police Department’s enforcement of crosswalk laws and help pay for traffic staff planning time, neighborhood outreach and education, potential infrastructure improvements. Here in Ward 3 we are working with Expo, Holy Spirit, Cretin Derham, Randolph Heights and both district councils to create a local safe routes to school plan. Look for info and events coming soon!
· Funding to pursue organized trash collection in Saint Paul. At this time no final decisions have been made and there are a lot of details to be worked out. I believe we can put together a system that provides the best prices for residents, reduces the strain on our alleys and the pollutants in the air and supports our local haulers.
· Funding to continue the Youth Ambassadors Program, a partnership between the Police and local youth works to reduce juvenile crime. This program has resulted in a 63% decline in juvenile arrests in neighborhoods where Ambassadors were working in 2014.
Cleveland Bike Lane Conclusion
The Cleveland Taskforce completed its work on November 13th
and recommended Cleveland Avenue as the best route for a north-south bike
route between Fairview and Mississippi River Boulevard. After reviewing the recommendation, the City is moving forward with
implementing bike lanes along Cleveland Avenue from Highland Parkway to
As the recommendation was very
clear about the need for parking mitigation, I asked Public Works to prepare mitigation
options, including at least one parking bay, and changes to timed and permit
parking. I anticipate that information to be available by mid-January and anticipate
a resolution of intent before at the City Council by the end of January.
The goal is for the bike lane and parking mitigation to be implemented during
the summer of 2016, although budget and process timelines will dictate whether
that is feasible.
Let me know what you're thinking!
Call: (651) 266-8630
Councilmember Chris Tolbert
15 W. Kellogg Blvd
Saint Paul, MN 55102
and Liquor Laws
December 16th the City Council modernized our restaurant and
liquor laws to reflect the industry today- and will enhance our current
restaurants and attract new neighborhood restaurants too. I am proud to have been the lead on
this ordinance. You can read more about the ordinances we passed here.
more great restaurants in our neighborhood soon!
Could Your Business
be a Right Track Employer?
I’ve been proud on the Council to help start Right Track, the City of Saint Paul’s
workforce development program. Right Track works with local employers to train
and hire youth for professional internships over the summer. We are
looking for local employers to help develop tomorrow’s leaders.
The program is growing quickly. Last summer, 54 employers
hired 108 interns to assist with everything from data entry, scanning, and
filing to community outreach and social media campaigns. Our goal in 2016
is to provide opportunities to 150 motivated youth; we’re on our way, but we
need your help. Check out the website to learn more about the program, the
commitment, and the employers who are already involved.
Next Steps with Ford
Ford has released information on the environmental condition of the site to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. Once analyzed, the data will provide an understanding of the level and type of contamination across the upper part of the site (not the lower river parcel). What it won’t provide is information about how much funding Ford is willing to put towards clean-up. Legally, before the property can be sold, they need to clean it up to a level capable of supporting “light industrial” uses. Additionally, Ford will carry the liability of their pollution for perpetuity. This helps ensure that they do a thorough clean-up job, but could also mean that they limit future uses on parts of the site to protect their long-term interests.
Like much of the Ford Site Planning over the past several years, the project has several moving parts, including the infrastructure and public realm design, zoning and master plan development, jobs study, environmental study and TIF (Tax Increment Financing) planning. This will all continue with the help of public feedback through 2016. For up-to-date information and upcoming meetings check out stpaul.gov/ford.
As I’ve said before, this is a marathon, not a sprint. Together with patience and continued hard work we can ensure that this site is redeveloped into the 21st century community that we have envisioned.
Learn more about Highland Friendship Club
December 2015, Highland Friendship Club visits the Council Chambers.
Guest post by Ashley
Skelly, Program Director for Highland Friendship Club
Highland Friendship Club was founded in 2002 by two St. Paul
parents who were disappointed by the lack of available opportunities for their teenage
sons with developmental and intellectual disabilities. They began reaching out
to other parents, organizing events for their kids, and slowly the Friendship
Club grew. Today, Highland Friendship Club is proud to offer daily programs for
its members (people with disabilities) to engage in their community and connect
with others in ways that are meaningful and aligned with their personal choices
and desires. It is a place in which the members make friends, learn new skills
and become healthier, happier individuals. As a result, they form bonds with
each other and create communities of support.
Fourteen years later, the age range and abilities of HFC
members continue to grow as community experiences and a broader range of activities
are added in response to the changing interests of over 200 members! HFC
is proudly 150 volunteers strong and partners with dozens of organizations and
local businesses. As you can see, HFC is all about exploring,
experiencing and tapping into what our great community has to offer!
Get involved and learn more here.