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

Nice Ride launches Neighborhood Program in East Side, Frogtown and North Mpls.

Posted by: Nicole Norfleet Updated: July 25, 2014 - 3:21 PM

Photo courtesy of Nice Ride Minnesota

Photo courtesy of Nice Ride Minnesota

St. Paul residents are getting used to seeing the green Nice Ride bikes being pedaled down city streets. But this week, Nice Ride has introduced orange bikes to some of the most underserved areas in the Twin Cities.

As part of the Nice Ride Neighborhood Program, 145 orange bikes are being distributed to cyclists in Frogtown and the East Side as well as North Minneapolis. The goal of the initiative is to cultivate new cyclists, said Paul Stucker, the Neighborhood Program coordinator for Nice Ride.

"We’re looking at different tools to serve different communities...We’re really looking geographically at what areas are cut off and need a different tool," Stucker said.

Over on the East Side. there aren't any urban bike shares, Stucker said. While there are green bikes in Frogtown and the North Side of Minneapolis, they haven't been as popular as in other areas, he said. Of the 145 orange bikes, 51 went to residents in St. Paul.

Nice Ride partnered with several local organizations to identify program participants. The partners in St. Paul are Aurora/St. Anthony Neighborhood Development Corporation, Hmong American Partnership, Model Cities, St. Paul Public Housing, and Vietnamese Social Services. In Minneapolis, the partners are Emerge, Minneapolis Urban League, NorthPoint Health and Wellness Center, and Redeemer Center for Life. All of the orange Neighborhood bikes have been committed to participants for this year.

Besides attending an orientation, orange bike cyclists are also encouraged to participate in community events such as last weekend's Rondo Days to connect with other participants. The orange bikes aren't linked to the urban bike sharing system at all, Stucker said. The chosen cyclists keep their bikes until October, when they turn them in and help evaluate the program, he said. Feedback and engagement could determine what the program looks like next year as well as provide information for potential Nice Ride expansion, Stucker said.

Update on Ford site set for Tuesday

Posted by: Kevin Duchschere Updated: July 21, 2014 - 10:28 AM

City and industry leaders, including Mayor Chris Coleman, have scheduled an update for tomorrow morning on redevelopment of the Ford plant site in St. Paul's Highland Park neighborhood.

"St. Paul has some of the region's brightest minds, boldest thinkers, and ablest hands who will contribute their talents to propel this site to be a national model of redevelopment and innovative reuse of a former industrial property," said Coleman, in a statement released Monday.

Still, it won't be until next year that Ford, which owns the site, plans to solicit proposals nationally for redevelopment of the site. Only then will we have a better idea about what might actually go there.

City leaders have expressed hopes for a mixed-use development that includes housing, business and green space.

The 122-acre riverfront site has been largely cleared of the structures Ford used for decades to build vehicles ranging from the Model T to the Ranger pickup truck. Demolition began a little more than a year ago.

The big task now will be the ongoing work of cleaning the polluted site to industrial standards.

Participating in the Tuesday news conference, scheduled for 11 a.m. at the Ford site, will be Coleman, City Council Member Chris Tolbert, and Ford site manager Mike Hogan.

Rondo Community Center on its way

Posted by: James Walsh Updated: July 8, 2014 - 4:44 PM

A new Rondo Community Center appears to be a step closer to reality.

On Wednesday, St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman and other city and state officials and neighborhood dignitaries will gather at the planned site for the center in St. Paul's Summit-University neighborhood. The event is scheduled to begin at 12:15 p.m.

Coleman will officially transfer the deed for the property that will become the center's home. Other announcements are expected at that time, including a grant from the Minnesota Historical Society and the lineup for the July 19 Rondo Days celebration.

Rondo Avenue was once at the heart of the city's black community. But the street and many neighboring homes were bulldozed to make way for Interstate 94 in the 1960s. Rondo Days celebrates the neighborhood's legacy.

The community center site is at 820 Concordia Avenue.

New West Side baseball fields to be dedicated Thursday

Posted by: James Walsh Updated: July 7, 2014 - 2:55 PM

Youth baseball on the West Side of St. Paul is sure to get a jolt of new energy Thursday when officials and baseball greats gather to dedicate All Star Park at Gilbert de la O Fields at the El Rio Vista Recreation Center. It's all set to begin at 2 p.m.

De la O is a former member of the St. Paul School Board and a longtime champion of the city's West Side.

Expected to attend are: Jim Pohlad, owner of the Twins; former Twins great Tony Oliva; Vera Clemente, widow of baseball great Roberto Clemente and St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman.

The field has been developed with funds from the Minnesota Twins and the project was recently included in a list of community efforts getting a boost from Major League Baseball's All Star Game, to be played at Target Field in Minneapolis.

El Rio Vista is located at 179 Robie St. E. in St. Paul.

Holiday fireworks moved to Capitol

Posted by: Nicole Norfleet Updated: June 30, 2014 - 2:44 PM

Fireworks light up the Mississippi River as patrons watch from both boats as well as the fair grounds during the 2009 Taste of Minnesota Thursday evening on Harriet Island in St. Paul. / Photo by Anthony Souffle

Fireworks are no good wet.

The city of St. Paul announced Monday that its annual July 4 fireworks show will be moved from flooded Harriet Island to the State Capitol Mall on Friday.

The fireworks display was supposed to be part of “A Taste of Minnesota,” which is also forced to relocate this week to the Carver County Fairgrounds in Waconia because of the high waters.

“Fireworks have long been a part of our Independence Day celebration, and despite the flooding, I am excited that this important tradition will continue,” said Mayor Chris Coleman, in a statement.

The Capitol Mall will open to the public beginning at 8 p.m. on Friday with the free show starting around 10 p.m.. Pre-packaged food and drinks are allowed, but grills, alcohol, and personal fireworks are not. The event area will be closed to vehicles from Rice Street to Cedar Street and from University Avenue to 12th Street West. 

With the new location, residents are being advised that the fireworks will not likely be visible from the Mississippi River area, so plan ahead.

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