Prior-Goodrich Rain Garden Planting Day, 6/8

On Saturday, June 8th our rain gardens will have their planting day! If you had a rain garden installed by the city during the RSVP project last year, then you should already have received a notice about the planting day. Here’s the schedule:

9am, Visit the Planting Tent at Groveland Recreation Center tennis courts. Meet Capitol Region Watershed District (CRWD) staff to pick up your plants and planting plan. You can also borrow tools if you need them.

9am-Noon, CRWD staff and volunteers from Great River Greening will be on hand throughout the Prior-Goodrich project area providing planting help and advice.

Noon-2pm, Great River Greening water trucks will visit each newly-planted garden to give it a thorough soaking.

If you have questions about the plan for your rain garden, the planting day, or the maintenance required for your garden, contact Elizabeth at CRWD, 651–644-8888.

Area 21 Permit Pushback

Some residents of Area 21 who live on the south side of Summit Avenue had a conversation with the Transportation Committee of the Mac Groveland Community Council on April 22nd to ask that they be removed from Area 21 and added to Area 19 or 20 to join the north side of Summit Avenue. Their concern is that the new hours have allowed evening students of St. Thomas to park on Summit for their classes.

The Transportation Committee has supported their request for a petition to change the boundaries of the parking areas, and that request is now going to the city transportation staff for review. It is not yet clear who all would have to sign off on that petition or what percentage of signatures they would require.

If this moves ahead as planned, then it would not change the rules on Lincoln, Grand, or Goodrich. Have folks noticed any downsides of the new rules anywhere else in Area 21?

Be Our Grid 3 Representative!

After years of excellent service, David Redmond has decided not to run for another term as our Grid 3 representative. Many thanks to David for all the great work he has done for us! Now we need to find a new Grid 3 representative for the Mac Groveland Community Council. How about you?

A grid representative serves a three year term on the Mac Groveland board. You would represent the area bounded by Cleveland, Summit, Fairview, and Goodrich, just a few blocks of the immediate neighborhood. Here’s what you’d be part of, with much more information available on the “macgrove” website: “The Macalester-Groveland Community Council was created to facilitate communication between the residents of the area and elected officials. Our mission is to foster citizen participation in government and community decisions that make our neighborhood a desirable place to live, work, and play.”

In addition to representing your grid, you’d be asked to participate in one committee. These include: Beautification, Community Outreach, Environment, Housing and Land Use, Long Range Planning, and Transportation. So whether your interest is gardening, recycling, bicycling, planning, or improving the neighborhood in any way, there’s a way to do it with your neighbors.

The Community Council would like to have a representative for Grid 3 as soon as possible. If you are interested or have any questions, please contact Joel Clemmer or Eric Celeste.

Mac-Groveland Neighbors Forum

I trust you already know about the Mac-Groveland Neighbors Forum. If not, you really should take a look and sign up.

I just wanted to let you know that the forum is looking for a few volunteers to help make the conversation flow…

My name is Will Howell, and I’m helping the Mac-Groveland Neighbors Forum ( become more active and conversational. To do this, I’m helping E-Democracy’s staff find several people to fill low-commitment volunteer roles on the forum.

Will shared this Volunteer Roles PDF with details on what they are looking for. Please contact Will Howell or Corrine Bruning if you are interested!

Help Guide Future Redevelopment in Macalester-Groveland

How can we guide redevelopment on Grand Avenue, Snelling Avenue, and other corridors in Macalester-Groveland to best respond to the changing needs of the community? As the City conducts a zoning study along Grand Avenue from Cretin to Fairview, and as the moratorium on development comes to a close in August 2013, it’s time for the community to weigh in. Through a series of two community workshops, we will explore development scenarios to provide guidance to future redevelopment in the neighborhood. The recommendations will be submitted to the St. Paul City Council and the Planning Commission for consideration in the West Grand Avenue Zoning Study.

Two sample sites that will be considered at the workshops include:

  • Grand Avenue – potential development site midblock between Finn and Cretin
  • Snelling Avenue – Southeast corner site at St. Clair Avenue

You are encouraged to attend both of these fun and interactive workshops:

  • Wednesday, January 30, 5:30 – 8:30pm
  • Wednesday, February 13, 5:30 – 8:30pm

Both sessions are at Kagin Commons, Macalester College, 1600 Grand Avenue.

Hosted by the Macalester-Groveland Community Council, the West Summit Neighborhood Advisory Committee, the University of St. Thomas and Macalester College, and in partnership with the City of Saint Paul and LISC’s Corridor Development Initiative. Childcare and translation services will be provided by request only. Please RSVP to Gretchen Nicholls at 651-265-2280 one week in advance of each workshop if you would like to reserve childcare or translation services.

For more information, contact:
Gretchen Nicholls, TC LISC at 651-265-2280, or
Afton Martens, MGCC at 651-695-4000.

Crime Prevention Q & A

Joel Clemmer and Callie Recknagel passed along this very interesting set of questions and answers from the police department about crime prevention.

When should I call the police and when shouldn’t I bother them? Suspicious character? Noisy vehicle? Noisy neighbors?

Always feel free to call the police no matter what the issue is! Police will never say you are “bothering” them – it is what they are here for but do know that calls are prioritized meaning that the barking dog or noise complaint may take longer for them to respond depending on what the call load is at that particular day.

Is there a number I can call other than 911 for something I know is not an emergency? I don’t want to bother the 911 operators with a non-emergency.

The non-emergency number is 651-291-1111. If in doubt, call 911 and let the tele-communicator determine if it is an emergency.

We are traveling over the holidays. What should we do to ensure security of our house? What if I am uncomfortable reporting to a stranger – even the Police – that the house is empty?

Lighting! If you do not want to inform neighbors or others that you are going to be gone, light up your property with dusk to dawn lights – these are inexpensive and simply screw into a light socket and the light bulb into this. Also, invest in light timers for the interior lights. Put a few in different locations that will come on and off at different times and maybe even one on a radio or TV. Be sure that someone is picking up newspapers and mail, and arrange to have someone shovel the sidewalk & driveway in the case it snows while you are away. If you have a vehicle that you can leave parked in the driveway do so or possibly have a neighbor or family member park one of their vehicles in your driveway.

Is it worth investing in a security system or are they more trouble than they are worth?

I don’t know of people who think of their systems as being “more trouble than they are worth” but it is a personal preference. If you are interested in having one installed, ask family or friends who have one who they use, are they pleased with the service, and then get one or two estimates before investing. If you do have one installed, use it! Too many people think they are only going to be gone for a short time so don’t set them – it’s easy to set and easy to disarm so use what you have.

Does the Police Department encourage resident-organized Neighborhood Patrols?

We certainly encourage people to watch out for their neighborhoods whether this is an organized schedule or not. If you do organize such a thing, keep it simple and do not confront person(s) who you think may be up to something – carry a cell phone and call 911 to let police respond to check it out.

What is the most frequent property crime in Mac-Grove and what should we do about it? The second most frequent?

Theft from autos is probably #1. This is a fairly easy crime to deter by simply not leaving anything in your vehicle. There are of course incidents where the stereo equipment is stolen but more often it is items that are taken.

#2 and this would depend on the time of year with #1 would be bikes stolen. Again, a solution would be to lock the bikes even if they are in a garage and make sure the garage doors are secure.

How does the Mac Grove crime rate compare to other neighborhoods and to a typical suburb? Is it really safer in the ‘burbs?

Mac-Grove is a very nice area. To compare it to other neighborhoods would depend on the area of course but for the most part, it is a safe and lower crime area. The burbs all have their share of crime and problems contrary to common myths. There are virtually no areas that anyone could say are “crime free”!

I do not see squad cars patrolling my block. Where do they patrol in Mac Grove?

There are squads assigned to all neighborhoods at all times. You may not see a squad but then again, nobody is watching all of the time, particularly at the moment a squad may drive down your street!

If I need police assistance on a Saturday night, how long will it take for them to arrive?

There is no correct answer for this question – it really does depend on the day, time, and especially the call load but know that if you need a squad, one will be sent. If it is an emergency, the squad will respond quickly, if it is a barking dog, it may take a bit longer.

What makes a difference in avoiding break-ins? Leaving lights on, inside or outside? Some kind of special locks? Security grates over basement and other windows? A dog? A moat?

Again, lights are a key prevention inside and out to deter burglars.

Locks are an important part of prevention too. Solid core doors with good dead bolts on all exterior doors along with sufficient door frames will help to deter break in. Always lock windows and if you have basement windows that could be breached, putting security grates on them is an option. A dog is a good deterrent as well. Most burglars would probably opt for a quiet, dog free home over one that has a dog on the other side of a door!

I keep hearing about City budget cuts. Does our number of officers meet standards?

We are currently at full strength (at approximately 600 officers) but hope to increase that number in 2013. Public safety is a priority for the City of Saint Paul!

What happens to K9 dogs when they retire?

Since there is such a bond between the officer and their dog, the dog typically lives out their life with the officer.

Grand Avenue Zoning Study Needs Your Input

Neighbors United reminds us that the city of Saint Paul is currently studying zoning along Grand Avenue between Cretin and Fairview. This includes Grand Avenue just north of our section of Lincoln. Neighbors United has prepared this flyer with many questions and details of how to get involved. Do you want five story buildings along Grand? Do you have concerns about density or parking? What kind of setbacks do you think are important in our neighborhood?

The department of Planning and Economic Development plans to wrap up public input on this issue by the end of December. You can voice your concerns by visiting the Open Saint Paul site about the West Grand Zoning Study or by writing to the folks listed in the Neighbors United flyer.

WSNAC Meeting Open to All

Many of the concerns we have in the neighborhood revolve around the University of Saint Thomas. This is just a reminder that the West Summit Neighborhood Advisory Committee, a group that brings St. Thomas and the community together to solve problems, has regular meetings open to the public. You are welcome and might want to consider attending.

Here are the details for the next meeting of the Transportation, Parking, Safety and Student Relations subcommittee of WSNAC. Just RSVP to Jim if you’d like to attend.

Greetings WSNACers, and specifically members of the Transportation, Parking, Safety and Student Relations Subcommittee,

Please review the below agenda for our upcoming TPS&SR meeting and let me know if you plan to attend.

We’ll look forward to seeing you next week, 10/3/12 at 6:30 PM in the Anderson Student Center (ASC) #234.

Agenda: (Times listed for Agenda items are approximate)

6:30 –Introductions and welcome to new and returning members. (Group)

6:35 – Update on restorative justice initiative. (Leo)

6:45 – Update on Grand Avenue bridge moratorium. (Leo)

6:55 – Review Neighborhood Initiatives and General Fall update, including; (Jim, Dan and Josh)

  • Community Court update
  • Party bus issue
  • Neighborhood disturbances and responses
  • Updates on neighborhood initiatives from off campus student services
  • Neighborhood clean up
  • Upcoming events

7:20 – Update on USG initiatives. (Derek VanLith)

7:30 – Review, update and make recommendation regarding the pedestrian safety plan. (Group)

7:55 – Other issues for future consideration by the subcommittee.

8:00 – Adjourn



James E. Sachs, JD, MA
Asst. Dean of Students
University of St. Thomas
2115 Summit Avenue #5041
St. Paul, MN 55105
Office ASC 241

Posted in UST

What’s up with the curbs?

You may have noticed that some work is being done on the curbs on Lincoln Avenue. It turns out that the tree trenches were designed and specified based on an assumption that we would not be saving our ash trees on Lincoln. Of course, thanks to the effort of many neighbors, many of our ash trees were treated instead of being cut down. Unfortunately, that information did not get back to the designers of the tree trenches and as a result, many trenches were laid down immediately next to existing rescued ash trees.

Of course, the forester has pointed out that since the ashes were saved, no new tree will be planted in that close proximity and new tree trench for a new tree is required. Oops!

This is now being cleaned up. The curb cuts and tree trenches in these locations are being removed, that’s the work in progress right now.

Still to come is modification work on the remaining tree trenches. The model for the new, shallower version of these trenches has been constructed outside 2005 Lincoln, if you want to take a look. That trench has been shallowed and a different soil put on top. Once sod is replaced it should be considerably less steep and easier to mow. If you have feedback on that trench, or other questions about tree trenches on Lincoln, please contact Lisa Falk-Thompson at 651-266-6117.

In addition to the work shallowing the trenches, those that were not draining properly will be reconstructed to properly drain. All this work will be going on over the coming weeks.

RSVP meeting, 9/17

The city is mailing out notices of a meeting for Prior/Goodrich RSVP neighbors at 6pm on 9/17 at the Groveland Rec Center. Tom Stadsklev noted that any questions about the project are welcome, from assessments to lighting to rain gardens and tree trenches.

Lisa Falk-Thompson is also preparing a second letter to address many of the tree trench questions the city has been getting. A fix-up of those trenches is planned, including making them a bit shallower, making their slope gentler, and in some cases adjusting the soils used to ensure they drain properly.