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Continued: St. Paul's urban oasis

  • Article by: JOE KIMBALL
  • Last update: April 19, 2007 - 9:32 AM

They just like to be there, they said.

"It's pretty and quiet, except for that," said Lee, pointing at a line of trucks on Pierce Butler Route.

Hovering every day, all day, over the neighborhood, is the large-scale train and truck transfer station north of Pierce Butler. It's where those giant cargo containers are taken off trains and hoisted onto semi-trailer trucks, which then set out on their journeys directly in front of the park and not more than 300 yards from Kubak's front door.

"It was there when we moved in, but over time there's been more traffic and more noise. The equipment buzzes, there's a ton of dust ... windows rattle, pictures fall off walls," Kubak said.

Joe Spencer, a policy aide in Mayor Chris Coleman's office, lives near the park and feels the vibrations when trains pass. "We put silk on the back of picture frames so they don't rattle," he said.

John McKeown's house, unlike those of Kubak and Buysse, is shielded from the direct path of the noise by other homes. He says rail officials are working with the city and neighbors to lessen the effects.

McKeown, a real estate agent, moved to Newell 12 years ago when he was single, attracted by the park and stable real estate values. Now he and his wife, Jennifer, are raising two young children here and getting better acquainted with the playground.

"This is a well-kept secret in St. Paul," he said. "A great park, great family atmosphere."

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Joe Kimball - 651-298-1553

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