Ward 3 update

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St. Paul Ward 3 Update

January 2020

CM Tolbert

As we close out 2019 and begin 2020, it is always great to remember all that we have accomplished over the last year - as a neighborhood, city, and vibrant community.


Together, we made St. Paul a better community for all. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the people of Ward 3 and St. Paul for your continued partnership, engagement, and for your love of our city. I would also like to thank the thousands of city employees who work every day to serve St. Paul residents. I am especially thankful for the Ward 3 office team, Pattie Kelley and Melanie McMahon, for their hard work for the constituents in the neighborhood and across St. Paul.


Again, thank you for another great year – your comments, concerns, and involvements help make our community a better place. Happy New Year!



Ford site

Ford Site


This year Ryan Companies completed its purchase of the Ford site from Ford Motor Companies, and the city moved forward with a private/public partnership to invest in the public uses on the site – the infrastructure (streets, utilities, storm water management, parks, etc.) and affordable housing. These public uses have been city priorities since Ford announced the plant’s closure, and we are proud that the priorities are shared by Ryan Companies.


In 2020 Ryan Companies will begin work on the site. There will be continued oversite of construction management by the city, and continued neighborhood engagement as Ryan Companies will be collecting community input on the parks development and programming options on the site.


You can find more information on the private/public partnership and development on the city website below:




Also, Ryan Companies has set up a website you can check for updated information as construction begins:




Affordable Housing

As Chair of the Housing and Redevelopment Authority, I’m proud of the historic investment we made in affordable housing in 2019 – focusing on preservation of existing affordable housing, production of new affordable housing, and protections for people in housing.


The development of the Ford site will produce hundreds of new affordable housing units, including a significant amount at the deepest levels of affordability. However, we know that we can’t wait for the years it will take to develop those, which is why we continue to act now to work on our affordable housing crisis.


The Housing Trust Fund had a budget of $10 million of new funds, including $2 million in ongoing annual funds, and a three-year budget of $16 million. We also recently approved $3 million for a partnership with Saint Paul Public Schools for a Rent Supplement Pilot Program for families experiencing homelessness.


Additionally, this year also included the completion of the Dorothy Day Phase II project, which included the Opportunities Center in downtown Saint Paul. This partnership between the City, State, and private entities, created an additional 171 units of housing, as well as space for supportive programming and assistance for individuals experiencing homelessness.


In 2020 we will continue to move forward in our work on affordable housing, reviewing and consistently improving how our investments in preservation, production, and protections are working to help our community.

Grand Ave. crosswalk

Infrastructure Improvements

This year the Public Works Department completed some major street improvement projects in our Ward. The much-needed Cleveland Avenue mill and overlay was completed, and included pedestrian improvements such as ADA ramps on sidewalks and bump outs. The Cleveland Avenue and Randolph Avenue intersection got traffic signal and geometric improvements, and the Snelling Avenue and Summit Avenue intersection also received improvements. Public Works installed overhead signal indications for the Summit Avenue approaches to Snelling Avenue, as well as added left turn phasing/arrows.


Next year, the following street improvements will be completed:

  • Summit Avenue bridge replacement over Ayd Mill
  • Mississippi River Boulevard mill and overlay (from Randolph to Marshall)
  • South Lexington Parkway realignment to Shepard Road
  • Saint Paul Avenue mill and overlay (from Edgcumbe to Cleveland)
  • Sheffer Griggs street reconstruction project (Phase I)

As we close out the 2019 portion of winter, and prepare for continued snow and winter weather into 2020, remember that there are multiple ways to know if a Snow Emergency has been declared, and where you should park during the Snow Emergency. This website is up to date to check if an emergency has been declared, and has more information on other ways to receive this information as well:



Highland 9

The Parks & Rec Department completed the Highland 9 Visioning Study, which was a preliminary study on potential future uses of the Highland 9 golf course if it were to be repurposed. Part of the study was to examine current parks & recreation needs in our neighborhood, as well as citywide, and examine what future needs would be and whether our current parks & recreation space would fit those needs. I appreciate everyone who came to the public meetings or reached out to my office to share their input.


Recently, Parks & Rec held a third public meeting and released a preferred scenario. This preferred scenario was a two-phase approach and would include both multipurpose athletic fields and space for Nordic skiing, as well as keep a reconfigured 9-hole course for the first phase. Currently there is no secured funding to complete further schematic design or construction. You can find more information on the preferred scenario here:



Highland library storytime


Our Highland Park Library continues to be one of the busiest libraries in the city, with nearly 300,000 visits each year. In addition to checking out books and other materials, we are fortunate that the library continues to offer a wide variety of programs that draw thousands of participants.


During this year alone, the Highland Park Library branch offered 445 programs, with over 10,000 attendees. Popular programs include: family story time, baby story time, Amharic story time, Baby Café (a program for nursing mothers and their babies), book club, Mini Masterpieces art for young children, STEM activities, Tinker Tuesdays, ukulele workshops, and much more.


In 2019, the library made some upgrades to the physical space, including a refresh of the outdoor story garden, the addition of a breastfeeding-friendly area, and ongoing efforts to make the children's area an indoor play destination with learning toys and hands-on creative materials. The library is now an early voting location for Ramsey County, and thousands of people have cast their votes there. Library staff regularly visit schools and partner with community organizations such as Neighborhood House and Sibley Manor. 


Next year, the library will continue Read Brave – a program that gets people of all ages reading, talking, and acting on the most complex issues we face in our community. The 2020 focus is on the climate crisis. Visit the link below, or follow "stpaullibrary" or "stpaulpubliclibrary" on facebook, twitter, and instagram to stay up-to-date on Read Brave and other programs, activities, and services available throughout the year at your library.



Parks & Recreation

The Groveland Recreation Center hosts one of the busiest ice rinks in the metro area, thanks to ongoing volunteer support. It is the only natural ice rink in the city that has a Zamboni on site, and sees thousands of participants every season. Edgcumbe Recreation Center also has a great skating site with wonderful volunteer support, and both of these locations are assets in our community we are thankful to have.


The Edgcumbe Recreation Center Summer Blast program had one of the highest attendance rates in the entire city, with over 260 participants registered, averaging 100 kids daily this past summer. The Highland Park Community Center continues to be a popular location for teens in the community to gather after school and in the evening, and the open gym hours average 25+ teens daily.


Our Rec Centers in Ward 3 had over 3,000 enrollments, with over 550 programs offers. Make sure to check out the Parks & Recreation website as you’re thinking about spring and summer programs for yourself and your family:



Fire hydrant shoveling clearance

Fire Department

In 2019, the Saint Paul Fire Department distributed over 700 coats to Saint Paul kids as part of Operation Warm. They held an event this winter in Ward 3, where my office participated in helping to get coats to kids who need them in our neighborhood.


The Fire Department also continued its work on Project Safe Haven, which provides a safety walk through your home and free Smoke Alarms and Carbon Monoxide Alarms. We have many neighborhood residents in two age ranges with increased risk of fire – both college aged students and the elderly. If you, or anyone you know, would benefit from this program, please use the registration link provided below for more information on Project Safe Haven:




As we continue into winter, remember to keep fire hydrants on your boulevards clear of snow. Fire doubles in size every minute, and being able to quickly locate and access fire hydrants is crucial for our fire fighters.



The 2020 Census is happening this year, and this is an extremely important endeavor that will shape billions of dollars in federal funding for our communities. Everyone deserves to be counted, and we need your help in making sure that happens. Information on how to apply for a job as a census taker is below. These jobs are offered as temporary full time to flexible part time positions and start at $22 per hour.



Full Stack Saint Paul

Full Stack

Full Stack Saint Paul is a public and private collaboration between the City of Saint Paul and the Saint Paul Area Chamber of Commerce to help tech and innovation sector businesses start up and scale up in Saint Paul, and build upon the history of businesses that have already contributed to the tech and innovation ecosystem.


Full Stack Saint Paul continued to grow its momentum in 2019 by participating in Twin Cities Startup Week – an interactive event that encourages participants to explore Saint Paul and Minneapolis while expanding their knowledge of tech and innovation. In Saint Paul, the innovation hub Osborne 370 hosted an art installation where innovators attendees could learn more about Twin Cities entrepreneurial culture.


Also this year, Techstars’ Farm to Fork Demo Day, MEDA’s Million Dollar Challenge, Grow North’s Food, Ag Ideas Week, MN FinTech Collective’s Future Finance Forum, and Ed North’s Ed Tech Track all took place between Oct 9–16 in Saint Paul. These were great opportunities to showcase the already great work of existing entities in Saint Paul, and help encourage others to join the momentum.

Right Track 2019

Right Track

Right Track brings together the City, Saint Paul Public Schools, local businesses, and community based organizations to provide employment opportunities and professional skills training for youth. This is a great program I’m proud to support that is building a skilled and diverse workforce for our future.


In 2019 there were 935 youth that were matched for a job or internship, working at 185 sites throughout the city. An estimated $1,657,918 was earned by Right Track workers, and 98% of interns developed at least one adult reference. Impressively, Right Track youth also earned 420 industry certificates during their time with the program last year.

If you’re interested in being part of Right Track, either as an employer, or as a youth participant, you can get more information here: