What’s making news in St. Paul, reported by the Star Tribune’s team of city reporters. Send news tips to richard.meryhew@startribune.com.

Posts about Parks and recreation

Summer sports registration in St. Paul closes March 31

Posted by: James Walsh Updated: March 30, 2015 - 12:08 PM


According to the City of St. Paul, there's still time to register for youth summer sports -- but not much time. Registration closes on Tuesday, March 31.

Click the links below to learn more about our summer sports programs.


Summer Sports


RBI Baseball




Parent Child T-Ball


RBI Slow Pitch Softball

RBI Fast Pitch Softball


==========================For more information:  ParksCustomerService@ci.stpaul.mn.us



Man visits Mounds Park where his brother froze to death

Posted by: Nicole Norfleet Updated: March 12, 2015 - 1:46 PM

While everyone else was busy soaking up sunshine at Indian Mounds Regional Park on Wednesday afternoon, Don Jackson was on a more sobering mission.

Jackson, 61, had taken the 7-hour trek from his home in Missouri to find the place where his brother Jerry was discovered last month frozen to death in a shack in the woods.

"I have to find out who he was...I didn't know him for at least a decade," Jackson said, about his pilgrimage that included stopping at the neighborhood bar that his brother used to frequent and the church that he used to go to.

The body of Jerome Jackson, 58, was found Feb. 21 by a man searching for deer antlers at the park near Earl Street and Mounds Boulevard. According to preliminary autopsy results, Jackson, a homeless veteran, died from exposure to the cold. At first, the Ramsey County medical examiner's office was having a hard time trying to find his next of kin, but after a story in the Pioneer Press, the office received tips and was able to locate Don Jackson.

On Thursday afternoon, Jerome Jackson's ashes will be laid to rest at Fort Snelling National Cemetery where he will join thousands of other veterans. Jerome Jackson had served in the U.S. Marines.

On the unusually warm Wednesday, Don Jackson trudged through the woods intent on finding the shack that his brother spent his last days. Don Jackson knew the area well. When they were younger, he and his brother used to hang out in the area and hop the nearby trains to come down to the bluffs and witness the flooding during the spring. Jerome Jackson grew up with his family in the city's Midway neighborhood.

Jackson was diagnosed with schizophrenia in his mid-20s though his brother suspected issues long before that. During the last two years of his life, Jerome Jackson had stopped taking his medicine. While Don Jackson had fallen out of touch with his brother in recent years, he would call the bar annually to find out how his brother was doing.

"He had these demons inside of him that made the exterior look awful bad. ...Somehow you got to have some kind of closure. It's not right that he died. It's not right at all," Don Jackson said.

On Wednesday, Don Jackson went down a set of stairs that were thought to be used by railroad workers in the past and made his way through mud and wet leaves until he found a structure perched on the bluff that looked like it was covered with a tent. But a man, who was presumably homeless and close by the structure, said that it was his tent that he had erected about a month ago and that he didn't know Jerry. Don Jackson wasn't convinced, but he left anyway.

Despite not being able to say for sure if he found the place where his brother had lived, Don Jackson said he was glad that he was able to get a step closer into finding out who his brother was and meet some of his brother's friends who cared about him.

"He's in a better place than he was here."

Lights to go on Wednesday at CHS Field

Posted by: James Walsh Updated: March 2, 2015 - 2:51 PM

On Wednesday, St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman is expected to flip a giant light switch, officially turning on the lights at CHS Field for the first time.

Coleman will be joined by St. Paul Saints pitching coach and former Atlanta Braves pitcher Kerry Ligtenberg. The lighting ceremony will be part of a night-long event including tours, a brief program and a social hour at nearby Heartland Restaurant. More than 150 people -- including elected officials and ballpark design committee members who helped make the ballpark possible -- are expected to join in.

It is all scheduled to start with ballpark tours from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. The program will begin at 6:30, with a social hour to start at 7 p.m.

CHS Field will be home to the St. Paul Saints and Hamline University Pipers baseball teams, as well as dozens of other sports and entertainment events.

The new, 7,000-seat ballpark is owned by the City of St. Paul, but is operated by the Saints, an independent minor league baseball team that for the past 20 years has played it games at Midway Stadium on Energy Park Drive.


City Council to discuss study on Lilydale Regional Park

Posted by: Nicole Norfleet Updated: February 20, 2015 - 5:49 PM


St. Paul staff are scheduled to report to the City Council next week about an engineering study concerning Lilydale Regional Park, according to an agenda made available Friday afternoon.

The fossil grounds at the park have been closed since a waterlogged cliff in the area collapsed killing two grade school students and injuring two others in the summer of 2013.

During their Wednesday meeting, the City Council will talk about a geological and engineering study of the area that the city contracted last summer with Barr Engineering Co. for $152,000. City officials have previously said they hoped the report would guide them in deciding when and how they can reopen the park's 50-acre fossil grounds.

The city already spent nearly $200,000 on previous studies to analyze what happened in the landslide on May 22, 2013, which took the lives of Mohamed Fofana and Haysem Sani, both fourth-graders from Peter Hobart Elementary School in St. Louis Park.

St. Paul has paid a $1 million settlement to the families involved.

The contents of the study weren't immediately available Friday.

Red Bull reimbursed St. Paul over $100,000 for Crashed Ice costs

Posted by: Kevin Duchschere Updated: February 17, 2015 - 5:27 PM

Red Bull Crashed Ice, the extreme skate race that has become an annual winter spectacle in St. Paul, cost the city somewhere north of $118,000 this year for police, fire, parks and public works services.

But Red Bull reimbursed the city for every public dime spent, short of the time of some city staffers such as Joe Spencer, Mayor Chris Coleman’s arts and culture adviser.

“Red Bull is great because they pay all their bills,” Spencer said Tuesday.

About 140,000 people are thought to have attended this year’s event, which took place on a steep and bumpy track that started at the Cathedral of St. Paul and twisted down the hill leading to downtown.

One of the sponsors was the city’s convention bureau, Visit St. Paul, which paid Red Bull an estimated $140,000 – about twice as much as the year before, said President and CEO Terry Mattson.

The hike was due in part, Mattson said, to this year’s Crashed Ice Village outside the Xcel Energy Center, which offered food, beverages, music and a jumbo screen to visitors and spectators.

“The cost of doing business has increased because the sport has grown and evolved,” he said.

The city annually contributes a portion of the revenue from its lodging tax to the convention bureau, an amount estimated this year at between $1.7 million and $1.8 million.

The total estimated economic impact of all events that weekend – which included Winter Carnival festivities -- was $20 million, of which Mattson said $12 million to $15 million could be attributed to Crashed Ice.

Spencer said the city’s costs for the event were split among police, $73,000 for traffic management and crowd control; fire, $23,000 for paramedics; parks and recreation, $13,600 for event staff and turf repair; and public works, $8,000 for road closures, lighting and clean up.

There’s no formal competition among cities to host the event and St. Paul didn’t submit a bid, Mattson said. On the other hand, the city enjoys no assurance from one year to the next that Red Bull will return to St. Paul, Spencer said.

But they clearly like the city, which hosted its first Crashed Ice event in 2012.

“It’s unusual for Red Bull to come back for repeat engagements, and each year they caution us that they [typically] don’t come back,” Spencer said. “And yet they’ve also said this is the most successful Crashed Ice event anywhere. So it’s our hope they’ll come back.”

Red Bull isn’t done yet with St. Paul this winter. The company, in partnership with Become Co., plans to shoot a daredevil snowmobile sequence in downtown St. Paul for online viewing in early March.

According to a proposed sound level variance going before the City Council on Feb. 18, a “specialized snowmobile” will race up Robert Street from 12th Street to University Avenue, where it will jump the concrete overlook in Cass Gilbert Park east of the State Capitol. Levi LaVallee, an award-winning snowmobile driver from Longville, Minn., will do the honors.

This one isn’t a spectator event, Spencer said. But it will set the stage for millions of online views of the city.

“If it comes together, it’s a great opportunity to showcase St. Paul,” he said.



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