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2233 University Avenue West, Suite 335
St. Paul, MN 55114
(651) 399-7221
bmcmahon@universityunited.com
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University UNITED  A Coalition of Midway Citizens and Businesses

Initiatives and Programs

Since late 2009, University UNITED has been focused on helping create development plans and implementation strategies. More can be found at www.prioruniversitydevelopment.com.

University UNITED has organized a number of programs and collaborations including:

University Avenue Business Association - www.universityavenuebiz.com
University Avenue History Group - www.universityavenuehistory.com
Dickerman Park - www.dickermanpark.org
 
Below is a sample of other activities undertaken by UNITED over the past decade. Click on the project name for further information.
  1. UNITED Appeals Walgreens/ Big Top Liquor Project
  2. Home Depot
  3. Property Tax Task Force
  4. U-Plan Community Planning Studio Opened December 6
  5. Proposed Interim Transit-Oriented Zoning Overlay
  6. Lexington/University
  7. SuperTarget
  8. Midway Centers Retail Initiative
  9. University Avenue Merchants Association
  10. Proposed CVS Drugstore
  11. New University/Dale Mixed-Use Library
  12. Midway Industrial Area Initiative
  13. Dickerman Park
  14. STAR Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design Program
  15. Crime Prevention
  16. Light Rail Transit
  17. Annual Awards
  18. Ford Building
  19. Ford Building Report
  20. Breaking News, Rumors, Musings?

 

 

 

 

UNITED Appeals Walgreens/ Big Top Liquor Project

"University UNITED has appealed the proposed Walgreens/ Big Top Liquor project at Snelling and University after it had received approval from the St. Paul Planning Commission. The appeal is scheduled for Wednesday, October 3, at 5:30 PM in the City Council Chambers. The public is invited to attend and voice support for our efforts.

We have appealed because the proposed buildings are not sited adjacent to the road grid called for in the Central Corridor Development Strategy, and because they are not pedestrian friendly. We believe that no project should be built that conflicts with the vision for University Avenue, as we are in the final stages of planning for light rail. We should be building in incremental steps towards the vision, not building projects that will have to be demolished at a later time in order to carry out the vision.

As with every appeal we have done, we do not just oppose – we offer alternative ways to build a project. These alternative options allow for the program needs of the developer, but also meet the community goals for transit-oriented development. Attached is our alternative plan created by Adam Maleitzke, Manager of U-PLAN, with input from the community. We will continue to post additional information about this appeal at www.universityunited.com."

Click here for City Council Walgreens Letter

Click here for Walgreens Workshop Summary

Click here to print out Walgreens Handout

Click here to view Walgreens Handout

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Property Tax Task Force

See Press Release

Take Property Tax Survey
Property Taxes are right up there among popular topics of conversation around the proverbial water cooler. We invite you to respond to an online survey that we have posted at http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.asp?u=992933165427. This survey should take no more than a few minutes.

See PowerPoint Presentations
Wedenesday, November 1st
Part 1: Financing Our Government Services
Part 2: How Land Use Impacts Tax Revenue
Part 3: University vs Other Commercial Corridors

Wednesday, November 15th
Part 4: Changes in Property Value
Part 5: Properties Exempt from Property Tax

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U-PLAN Community Planning Studio Opened December 6

Announcements
Pioneer Press Article

U-PLAN Community Planning Studio
1956 University Ave. W. Saint Paul, Minnesota 55104
(651) 641-0293 www.u-plan.org

U-PLAN is a collaborative, community based resource that facilitates planning and design efforts at the grassroots level. It offers a variety of technical support services to community organizations and small businesses, and includes computer work stations fully equipped with Geographic Information Systems (GIS) mapping, AutoCad and SketchUp architectural graphics, Google Earth, PhotoShop and other state-of-the-art visioning and design tools, as well as a large format color printer that can generate maps and graphics. The storefront studio is also be available for design charrettes and smaller planning sessions. For additional information call (651) 641-0293 or visit www.u-plan.org.

(Application available online for requesting services from U-Plan)

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Proposed Interim Transit-Oriented Zoning Overlay

Snelling Lexington TOD Timeline
Minneapolis Proposed Overlay
Interim Transit Overlay
Community Process on Overlay District
Interim District Case Studies
Job Density and Floor to Area Ratio (FAR) Matrix

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SuperTarget

Finance Commerce Articles
Editorals
Approval of Project
Article: Target Hits Snag
Pioneer Press Op Ed Articles
Letter Councilmembers Appeal
PP Article Layover
Pioneer Press Scoop
Lex Ham Appeal

Updated elevations + perspectives / Target Midway St. Paul, Mn
Updated elevations + perspectives / Target Midway St. Paul, Mn
Updated elevations + perspectives / Target Midway St. Paul, Mn
Updated elevations + perspectives / Target Midway St. Paul, Mn

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Midway Centers Retail Initiatives

Upgrading retail in the Midway is a very high priority of University UNITED. In 2002, we analyzed the potential of the three adjoining retail centers including the Midway Center, Midway Marketplace, and Target. See Midway Centers Report. We concluded that the centers were operating at a level far below their potential, given their central location and excellent transportation service. We noted that the trade areas and demographics of the Midway are essentially the same as Rosedale Shopping Center, which is considerably out-performing the Midway centers. At that time, we made a number of recommendations as to how to the Midway could be repositioned to perform better.

Midway-Center
Midway-Center
Midway-Center
Midway-Center

The key was to have the three adjoining centers working cooperatively and be managed more as a traditional mall. We were not successful in having the city or the property owners accept our recommendations at that time, but we recently decided to raise this issue again, as circumstances appear to be more favorable. We recently created an on-line shoppers survey which attracted considerable response. See Retail Survey Results, and Retail Survey Narrative Responses. A community meeting was held on January 27, 2005 to unveil the results of our retail survey, and to start organizing a network of community residents who would meet with merchants and property owners.

In addition to organizing the hundreds of residents who expressed an interest in this issue, we have also been working to organize the merchants by creating a new retailers group. The first meeting of the University Avenue Merchants Association (UAMA), was held on March 15, 2005. Featured speaker, Commander Tom Smith, announced that the St. Paul Police will be installing a new Sub-station in the Midway Center this summer. (See the UAMA section of our web site below.) Our second UAMA meeting is scheduled for June 2nd, at 8:00 AM at the Midway FourPoints Sheraton Hotel. Mayor Randy Kelly and PED Director Susan Kimberly will be discussing their commercial corridor initiative. To help organize the merchants association, UNITED has offered to fund a part time consultant who will function independently from University UNITED. After the merchants are organized, efforts will be made to have them meet with residents and customers.

In the meantime, we are increasingly concerned that redevelopment of the retail centers may occur without benefit of a planning process or the involvement of the community. It is widely known that the City has been talking with Best Buy and Home Depot, and perhaps others, about locating a big box store on the pile of dirt formerly known as the bus barn, at Snelling and I-94. We have expressed our concerns to the city, and requested that a planning study - with community input - be done before any further developments are proposed. In addition, we have requested that the Met Council, current owners of the property, insure that all future development meet the criteria of Transit-Oriented Development.

In addition to these organizing efforts, we continue to research "best practices" of successful urban retail centers from around the country. We are posting on our website a summary of this research, starting with a fascinating mixed-use project from Dallas which features a circulating trolley. See Uptown, Dallas.

History Repeats Itself: Prior Studies of the Midway Centers

YOUniversity Avenue Plan, 1982

Our recent work analyzing the Midway shopping centers parallels a number of efforts that have been made over the years. In 1982, the Department of Planning and Economic Development in a planning study entitled, YOUniversity Avenue, noted a "Lack of Commercial Direction", as "Competition from shopping centers outside the study area has drawn customers away from local businesses." It also decried the lack of family entertainment, such as movie theaters, in the Midway area. Among its recommendations was a call for the "relocation of the MTC garage at Snelling and St. Anthony for a Planned Development of parking, commercial, office, and residential/ mixed use."

Consumer Focus Group, 1995

Another effort, in 1995, examined attitudes of customers and residents towards the Midway centers. It was a joint project of the Hamline Midway Coalition, the Safe Cities Initiative, and the St. Paul Pioneer Press. The following questions were asked, "Is the Midway Shopping Center Safe? Is there a perception that it is unsafe? Do community residents who shop and hang out at the center of University and Snelling treat each other with respect? What can businesses, customers and community residents do to improve its image as a safe and welcoming place?"

A major article in the Pioneer Press on October 30, 1995 described a meeting attended by 43 people from various generations, races and walks of life who lived or worked in the Midway area who met to discuss these questions. By the end of the 5 ½ hour dialogue, the group made a number of recommendations including:

  • Make the center's appearance friendlier and more inviting, improve traffic flow and add visible, positive activities for youth.
  • Add a well-maintained green space and bright lighting that is warm but unobtrusive.
  • Create more organized activities for young people.
  • Cleanup the area and enhance the facades of existing buildings.
  • Stage kiddie fairs, basketball tournaments and photo exhibits in open space outside the center.
  • Improve the bus service.
  • Develop a water park lined with trees and benches to connect the center, the new Montgomery Ward store and Cub foods.
  • Attract more mom-and-pop businesses.
  • Improve parking for elderly and handicapped people.

Midway Center Master Plan done by RD Management, 1998

RD Management, owners of the Midway Center, commissioned the Architectural Alliance to do a plan for a mixed-use development proposal. Their plan included a mid-rise office building, a hotel, a movie theater, restaurants, retail, structured parking, a transit hub, and the creation of internal streets and landscaping. It envisioned the redevelopment of the former bus barn site and the adjacent parcel on the southern edge of the shopping center. Unfortunately, the plan was not implemented at that time. The recent recommendations of University UNITED are very closely aligned to the underlying concepts of this plan.

Midway Center Master Plan 1998 Elevations

Midway Center Master Plan 1998 Site Plan2
Midway Center Master Plan 1998 Site Plan

University Avenue Merchants Association (UAMA)

The University Avenue Merchants (UAMA) Association was established in March 2005, with initial organizational support provided by University UNITED. Most commercial corridors such as White Bear Avenue, Grand Avenue, Snelling Avenue, have merchants groups, and it is envisioned that UAMA will operate with similar success. At the first UAMA meeting held on March 15, 2005, Commander Tom Smith announced his intention to install a new Police Sub-station in the Midway Center this summer. Merchants also discussed the goals of the group and organizational strategies. University UNITED offered to fund a part time consultant who would be hired by the merchants and working directly for them.

Mayor Kelly at June 2 UAMA Meeting

The second UAMA meeting will be held on Thursday, June 2 at 8:00 AM at the Midway FourPoints Sheraton Hotel. Mayor Randy Kelly and PED Director Susan Kimberly will be the featured speakers.

Draft Work Plan of UAMA

  • Create an organizational structure, elect officers, and hire part time consultant
  • Work with City, Police Department and community to improve security in and around the shopping areas. Install a Police Substation
  • Work with local community groups on seeking City STAR funding to create a façade improvement program on buildings surrounding the shopping area
  • Create a University Avenue Merchants Association website
  • Work with the University of St. Thomas, Center for Retail Excellence, on a market study designed to attract more college student shoppers
  • Work with the newly formed Community Retail Advisory Group, consisting of over 100 residents from the surrounding neighborhoods, to explore ways to promote closer ties between the merchants and the community
  • Explore ways to more closely integrate and market the three contiguous shopping areas: Midway Center, Midway marketplace and Target
  • Work with the City and local community groups on ways to improve transportation access to area, including transit, car, pedestrian and bicycle access
  • Explore possibility of establishing a Business Improvement District, or a Special Services District as a means to provide enhanced security, maintenance and beautification
  • Explore possibility of creating special events and seasonal programming at the shopping centers, and cooperative advertising and marketing campaigns. Explore possibility of discounted rates at local community newspapers. Explore possibility of distributing advertising flyers through mailings of community organizations.

Urban Retail Centers from Around the Country

Uptown, Dallas

Uptown is a mixed-use complex just north of downtown Dallas featuring apartments, townhomes, restaurants, galleries, and upscale shops. Less than two decades earlier, the area was a crime-ridden collection of vacant car lots, rundown houses and old warehouses. Speculators bought and cleared the land in the 1980s for office development, but their hopes were dashed when the real estate market collapsed. This opened the door for housing development. Columbus Realty Trust (now Post Properties) bought eight properties with plans to build apartments, lofts and townhomes, and in 1988 formed a partnership with the city of Dallas to revitalize the area. The city created a TIF District and made significant infrastructure improvements. Columbus Realty launched its Uptown project with a 132-unit luxury apartment complex derided as folly by Dallas's real estate community. However, within weeks every unit was leased, and the next three residential projects were equally successful. In 1993, the Dallas City Council approved the creation of the Uptown Public Improvement District, in which property owners pay a special assessment to cover varied improvements throughout the district. Funds have been devoted to security, special events, and capital improvements, including sidewalks, street lighting, and small public parks.

Other developers took notice, resulting in a wave of investment. Businesses flourished, and by 1998 there were 56 restaurants in the 128-block area, and a variety of other stores. The City's only trolley line runs throughout the area. More than 5,000 people currently live in Uptown, and about 13,000 people work there.

Uptown Dallas Angled Parking
Uptown Dallas From Wide Street
Uptown Dallas Street Life
Uptown Dallas Trolley Circulator

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Ford Building

Framing
Exterior w/horses
Exterior complete
Framing
Exterior w/horses
Exterior complete
 
Exterior complete
Interior - worker
Interior w/cars
Exterior complete
Interior - worker
Interior w/cars

Click here to view Minnesota Legislative Report 2006

Click here to view report for the Ford Building project.

Click here to view a statement by Royce Yeater, Midwest Director for the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Click here to read a two-page summary of the history of the Ford Building at 117 University Avenue.

Click here to view UNITED's press release regarding the community forum on the Ford Building.

Click here to view transcribed historical articles about the construction of the Ford Building.

Click here to view a bill recently filed in the Minnesota House of Representatives to prevent the unnecessary demolition of the building.

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Proposed CVS Drugstore

CVS, a national drugstore chain, has recently decided to enter the Twin Cities market. The original proposal for their first location in St. Paul, at Snelling and University, did not fit into this urban neighborhood, was contrary to the design principles of all recent community-based planning studies (in particular the principles of transit-oriented development (TOD), and did not meet the standards of Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED). The Board of University UNITED adopted a strong resolution in November, 2003 in opposition to the original proposal. Click here to view resolution.

UNITED developed a document comparing the CVS store as originally proposed to Metropolitan Council Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) Guidelines (click here to view).

Proposed Site Plan
Elevations of the Proposed CVS Store
Elevations of the Proposed CVS Store
Original Proposed
Site Plan
Original proposed elevations

On December 30th, 2003, UNITED and many community partners co-sponsored a design charrette to develop creative ideas for an urban, Twin Cities CVS store design that would be desirable to the community and consistent with community plans and the principles of transit-oriented development. The charrette was attended by more than 55 community stakeholders from St. Paul, Minneapolis, and beyond, and the resulting drawings can be viewed below. Click here to view an open letter to Twin Cities community organizations regarding the charrette.

Group 1 drawing
Group 2 drawing
 
Group 1 drawing
Group 2 drawing
 
Group 3 Option A
Group 3 Option A (rear-view)
Group 3 Option B
Group 3 Option A
Group 3 Option A
(rear-view)
Group 3 Option B
CVS Design Charrette, December 30th, 2003.
To read the minutes of the December 30th Charrette, click here.
CVS Design Charrette, December 30th, 2003.
CVS Design Charrette, December 30th, 2003.
CVS Design Charrette, December 30th, 2003.

University UNITED, Hamline-Midway Coalition and other neighborhood groups met with CVS's local developer and attorney on several occasions in November, December, and January, expressing our concerns. Time after time, we were told that they would not make significant design changes. Velmeir did agree to add some windows on the University Avenue façade, though the windows at eye-level would be "spandrel" (non-transparent) glass.

Despite 24 people speaking in opposition to and only two in favor of the proposed CVS site plan, the St. Paul Planning Commission approved the revised site plan on a vote of 9-3 on February 27th, 2004.

On Monday, March 15, UNITED's board unanimously passed a second resolution (click here to view) to appeal the City Planning Commission decision to approve the site plan for CVS. As the appeal costs $415, UNITED asked our community partners to make small contributions toward the effort. As of March 18th, UNITED has raised more than $800, in donations ranging from $10-$200, from neighbors, area businesses, and concerned citizens from throughout the region. Click here to read the text of the written appeal.

Click here to view a press release regarding UNITED's appeal of the CVS Site Plan and a March 23rd Community Meeting.

Velmeir Companies, CVS's local developer, made some minor improvements to the store design in hopes of avoiding the appeal. University UNITED scheduled a community meeting to let community stakeholders decide whether the changes had gone far enough toward meeting community concerns and needs. UNITED pledged that if the majority opinion was that the design is good enough, we would withdraw the appeal.

On May 5, 2004 Velmeir Companies proposed the following amended University Avenue facade, which was approved by City Council that day.

CVS Proposal

While the final design lacks a door on University Avenue and has some architectural inconsistencies, it does contain many of the elements that UNITED and the community had asked for. The final approved City Council resolution does include a provision that if LRT is constructed on University Avenue, Velmeir would add a University Avenue entranceway.

The image below is a proposed project at Hennepin and 12th in Minneapolis adapting an historic building, with CVS Pharmacy on the street level and 20 units of owner-occupied housing on the upper floors.

Project at Hennepin and 12th in Minneapolis adapting an historic building

The following images are an example of what a TOD development would look like on the CVS site and some additional adjacent parcels. This is a schematic only, and the design specifically maintains and incorporates the Turf Club and Frumos!, and the existing 2-story building 1/2 block west of Snelling:

An example of what a TOD development would like on the CVS site and some additional adjacent parcels. This is a schematic only, and the design specifically maintains and incorporates the Turf Club and Frumos!, and the existing 2-story building 1/2 block west of Snelling
Basement Level Image
Second Level Image
Street Level Image
Third & Fourth Level Image
Images above by Bob Lunning -- Hokanson, Lunning, Wende Architects
Site of the Proposed CVS Store
Site of the Proposed CVS Store
NE corner of the Intersection
SW corner of the intersection
Site of the Proposed CVS Store
(NW corner)
NE corner of the Intersection
SW corner of the intersection
The renderings below were created by Hay/Dobbs architects as part of the North Snelling Revitalization Study process facilitated by Hamline Midway Coalition.
Hay/Dobbs 3-story rendering
Hay/Dobbs 3-story rendering
Hay/Dobbs 4-story rendering
Hay/Dobbs 4-story rendering
3-story rendering
4-story rendering
A CVS Store in Cape Cod, MA
CVS store in Baltimore, MD
CVS store in Baltimore, MD
A CVS Store in Cape Cod, MA
CVS store in Baltimore, MD
Images below gathered for University UNITED by CharretteCenter.com
Courtesy of Lee S. Sobel, US EPA
Courtesy of Andrew Consigli, Imai Keller Moore Architects
Courtesy of Lee S. Sobel
US EPA
Courtesy of Andrew Consigli
Imai Keller Moore Architects
Atlanta CVS store images courtesy of Caleb Racicot, Tunnell-Spangler-Walsh, & AssociatesAtlanta CVS store images courtesy of Caleb Racicot, Tunnell-Spangler-Walsh, & AssociatesAtlanta CVS store images courtesy of Caleb Racicot, Tunnell-Spangler-Walsh, & Associates
Atlanta CVS store images courtesy of Caleb Racicot Tunnell-Spangler-Walsh, & Associates
(photos above & below)
Atlanta CVS store images courtesy of Caleb Racicot Tunnell-Spangler-Walsh, & Associates (photos above & below)
Atlanta CVS store images courtesy of Caleb Racicot Tunnell-Spangler-Walsh, & Associates (photos above & below)
Atlanta CVS store images courtesy of Caleb Racicot Tunnell-Spangler-Walsh, & Associates (photos above & below)
Atlanta CVS store images courtesy of Caleb Racicot Tunnell-Spangler-Walsh, & Associates (photos above & below)
 
CVS #1206, Newbury Street, Boston, MA
DuPont Circle, Washington, DC
Troy, NY
Stores around the Country
Images below gathered for University UNITED by CharretteCenter.com
Stores around the Country
Stores around the Country - Beacon Hill, Boston
Stores around the Country
 
CVS
7-Eleven
Beacon Hill, Boston
Walgreens
 
Stores around the Country
Stores around the Country
Stores around the Country
 
CVS
Walgreens
51st and France, MN
Snyders
St Louis Park Excelsior Grand, MN
 
Old Town Alexandria - 63rd and Brookside, DC Area
Washington DC
Newberry Street, Boston
 
Old Town Alexandria
63rd and Brookside, DC Area
Washington DC
Newberry Street
Boston
 
Davidson, NC
Atlanta, GA
Los Angeles
 
Davidson, NC
Atlanta, GA
Los Angeles
 
This image is from Urban Land Magazine's Multifamily Trends,
Fall 2003
  
Mixed-use development with Walgreens as anchor, Cincinnati
 
Historical image of Snelling & University
 
Mixed-use development with Walgreens as anchor, CincinnatiHistorical image of Snelling & University
Courtesy of MN Historical Society

Images are copyrighted by the providers and cannot be used without permission.

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New University/Dale Mixed-Use Library

A coalition of community groups has been working to redevelop the southwest corner of University Avenue and Dale Street for many years, since the Faust Theatre was demolished in the mid 90's. Thanks to the leadership of Mayor Kelly, the Lexington Branch library will be relocating to this important site in a new mixed-use development that will include some retail, 100 new housing units, and a combination of underground and structured parking.

New University/Dale Mixed-Use Library

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Dickerman Park

Community Meeting on December 8 - see flyer

Renderings of Dickerman Park
Renderings of Dickerman Park
Renderings of Dickerman Park
Renderings of Dickerman Park

Background of Dickerman Park

Dickerman Park is a linear green space on the north side of University Avenue in St. Paul, between Fairview Avenue and Aldine Street. It was donated to the City in 1909 by the Dickerman Investment Company and Griggs, Cooper and Company at a time when University Avenue was envisioned to become a grand landscaped boulevard. Because it has the appearance of private property, many people in the surrounding community are unaware that this plot of land is a City-owned park. It abuts the Griggs Midway Building; Midway Family YMCA; Metro Sound and Lighting; Community Learning Centers Building; and Marsden Maintenance/American Security.

Beginning in 2002, the Friends of the Parks and Trails of Saint Paul and Ramsey County initiated a series of meetings with residents and community groups in the area regarding the future of the park. This informal working group researched the history of the park, and related legal issues as to its ownership and management over the years. In the summer of 2003, the group requested that University UNITED convene a more formal community process to develop a consensus vision for the future of the park. A Dickerman Park Task Force was organized by University UNITED, which included the following property owners, and community representatives:

Dickerman Park Task Force

Joe Spencer, Hamline Midway Coalition
Mary Maguire, Merriam Park Community Council
Mark Thieroff, Merriam Park Community Council and Hamline Midway Coalition
Truman Porter, Friends of Parks and Trails of St. Paul and Ramsey County
Jeanne Weigum, Friends of Parks and Trails of St. Paul and Ramsey County
Bob Straughn, Midway Chamber of Commerce
Nell McClung, Griggs Midway Building
Jim Coggins, Charter School Building
Larry Fischer, Metro Sound and Lighting
David Dominick, Midway Family YMCA
Lorrie Brown, Family Learning Center Charter School
Mary Marsden, Marsden Maintenance
Brian Becker, Goodwill/ Easter Seals
Bob Bierscheid, St. Paul Parks and Recreation
Jane Prince, Councilmember Jay Benanav's Office
Christine Podas-Larson, Public Art Saint Paul
Brian McMahon, University UNITED

Technical Advisory Group

St. Paul on the Mississippi Decign Center
Design Center for the American Urban Landscape
University UNITED
Public Art Saint Paul
Friends of the Parks and Trails of St. Paul and Ramsey County
St. Paul Department of Parks and Recreation
St. Paul Department of Planning and Economic Development
St. Paul Department of Public Works
Ramsey County Regional Rail Authority
Metro Transit

The Dickerman Park Task Force identified key issues that needed to be addressed in the redesign and redevelopment of the park, including: design elements that would make Dickerman look and feel like a park, and a conceptual plan for meeting the parking needs of the adjacent properties. (A portion of the Park is now being used as a parking lot for the Griggs Midway Building.) The Task Force sponsored a design charrette on November 20, 2003 to brainstorm design/development concepts for Dickerman Park. It was open to the community and drew broad participation from a variety of interested parties including Kent Dickerman, a descendent of the family that donated the land. Kent and Ariel Dickerman were so pleased with the renewed interest in the park they offered to help raise funds to complete a professional planning study. Through their efforts over $45,000 has been raised from Dickerman family members around the country. In addition, Councilmember Jay Benanav and the Star Board have recommended that $30,000 in Neighborhood Star Grant funds be made available for a demonstration project. To view the Resolution of the Dickerman Park Task Force, click here. The Task Force also made a presentation to the Departments of Parks and Recreation Department and Planning on February 11, 2004. The Commission approved a resolution recognizing the work of the Dickerman Park Task Force and added the project to its 2004 Action Plan. To view this resolution, click here.

Nov. 20th Charrette
Kent - Tim - Jeanne
Kurt - Nell - Benita - Marsden
Tim - Regina  & Group

Selection of Planning Consultants

Shane Coen & Wing Young HuieThe Dickerman Park Task Force recently selected the landscape architectural firm of Coen and Partners and public artist Wing Young Huie to develop a design plan for the Park.
The planning study is expected to be completed by August, 2005. It is anticipated that a smaller $25,000 demonstration project will be completed by the end of the year. The total budget for rehabilitating the Park will await the final plan, but is expected to run approximately $1.5 million.

Background of Consultants

Coen and Partners is a nationally acclaimed landscape architecture and planning firm based in Minneapolis. Founded in 1991, the firm is noted for its innovative design work, including such projects as Jackson Meadow, Mayo Woodlands, Franconia Sculpture Park, and the Minneapolis Public Library. In 2004, Coen and Partners won the prestigious American Society of Landscape Architects National Award. Their website is www.coenpartners.com.

Wing Young Huie is an award-winning photographer who has exhibited locally and nationally. In 2002 the Minneapolis Star Tribune named him the Artist of the Year, and he received the Ordway Center's prestigious "Sally" award for artistic vision. His photographs were featured in a one-man show in 2004 in the Minnesota Museum of American Art, and are in the permanent collection of the Walker Art Center, the Minneapolis Institute of the Arts, the Minnesota Historical Society and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. His website is www.wingyounghuie.com.

Project Management

To oversee the management of the Dickerman Park project, the Task Force created a smaller Management Team consisting of Peggy Lynch (Friends of the Parks and Trails of St. Paul and Ramsey County); Mary Marsden (Marsden Maintenance) and David Dominick (YMCA), representing the adjoining property owners; Jun-li Wang (Hamline Midway Coalition); Tim Agness (St. Paul Parks); and Brian McMahon (University UNITED), who will function as Project Manager.

Continued technical assistance is being provided by Tim Griffin of the St. Paul Design Center, and Christine Podas Larson of Public Art Saint Paul.

As part of the design process, there will be community meetings open to the public. In addition, we will post on this website updates of the work as we proceed.

Dickerman Task Force
Shane Coen

Dickerman Family Contribution

On Wednesday March 16, 2005, the St. Paul City Council acknowledged the generosity of the Dickerman Family, represented by Ariel and Kent Dickerman. Councilmember Jay Benanav noted, "This project is an outstanding example of how the public and private sectors can work together to create a very special gathering place for the community."

Councilmember Jay Benanav with the Dickermans
The Dickermans with Peggy Lynch
City Council Resolution Presented to Kent and Ariel Dickerman on March 16, 2005

"WHEREAS, Dickerman Park is a 2.6 acre linear park on University Avenue between Fairview and Aldine, and

WHEREAS, Dickerman Park was donated to the City of Saint Paul in 1909, by the Dickerman Investment Company, and Griggs, Cooper and Company, and

WHEREAS, Dickerman Park has not been widely recognized as a city park because it fronts six commercial properties and has the appearance of private property, and

WHEREAS, a community process was initiated by the Friends of the Parks and Trails of St. Paul and Ramsey County to make the park more distinct, attractive, recognizable and usable to the public, and

WHEREAS, the community enthusiastically participated in a design charrette in February 2004 - sponsored by University United, and facilitated by the Saint Paul on the Mississippi Design Center, the Design Center for the American Urban Landscape at the University of Minnesota, Public Art Saint Paul, and Saint Paul Parks and Recreation - which envisioned an inviting open space to be enjoyed by Midway workers and neighbors, and

WHEREAS, news coverage of the charrette attracted the attention and support of Kent and Ariel Dickerman, residents of Saint Paul and descendants of the family that donated the property to the City, and

WHEREAS, Kent Dickerman, working with Dickerman family members around the country, have raised $45,000 for the purpose of completing a design for the redevelopment of Dickerman Park; therefore be it

RESOLVED, that the City of Saint Paul, expresses sincere gratitude and appreciation to Kent and Ariel Dickerman, and all the Dickerman family members, for their civic spirit and generous support of the revitalization of what will become an important Saint Paul Midway landmark, Dickerman Park."

Aerial views of Dickerman Park
Aerial views of Dickerman Park
Aerial views of Dickerman Park

Historical Context of Dickerman Park

Iris Park
UnionPark (Iris Park)
Iris Park
UnionPark (Iris Park)
Brown & Blodgett Letterhead
Historical image of Dickerman Park
Brown & Blodgett
Letterhead
Historical image of Dickerman Park
Courtesy of MN Historical Society

Dickerman Park Drawing
Dickerman Park: Analysis and Design Goals
by Coen + Partners

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STAR Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design Program

UNITED is wrapping up this 2-year program through which nearly 20 property owners have received matching grant and loan monies for capital improvements that are consistent with the principles of Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED). This program has helped to spruce up University Avenue while also making the properties in question more secure. The project has been funded through City of St. Paul STAR monies, which come from St. Paul's ½% sales tax. While the grant monies have all been used, UNITED is still revolving matching low-interest loan monies at an interest rate of 5%. Projects have included:

A complete facelift of Marty's Second Hand Store:
Brfore - Sam's 2nd Hand
 
After - Marty's After
Before
 
After

New exterior security lighting at Old Home Foods
Old Home Foods
Old Home Foods

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Crime Prevention

University UNITED works with its member organizations, the St. Paul Police Department, small business owners, and other area stakeholders to prevent crime in the University Avenue Corridor and change the perception of the Corridor as "crime-ridden." Among other projects in 2002, UNITED has partnered with Episcopal Homes to sponsor "Brownbags in Iris Park," an effort to get nearby office workers and residents to use Iris Park more in order to make the park an uncomfortable place for the drug dealers who have used it regularly in recent years.

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Light Rail Transit on University Avenue

At its October 21st board meeting, University UNITED adopted a resolution supporting the construction of light rail transit on University Avenue and some form of financial mitigation for the impact that construction of LRT would have on University Avenue property owners. Click on Resolution to view the resolution in its entirety. The Central Corridor Coordinating Committee (CCCC) is an inter-agency committee with representatives from Hennepin and Ramsey Counties, St. Paul and Minneapolis, MNDOT, the Metropolitan Council, and the University of Minnesota. CCCC has been working since 2000 to study transit alternatives for the Central Corridor, and to make a recommendation of the locally preferred alternative. The Central Corridor is the area between downtown Minneapolis and downtown St. Paul, including the University of Minnesota Twin Cities Campus. Major transportation arteries include Interstate 94 and University Avenue. Stretching 11 miles, the area is known for its many strong neighborhoods, institutions, businesses and attractions.

As of June 2002, the preliminary recommendation of the CCCC is to construct Light Rail Transit (LRT) down the middle of University Avenue, connecting downtown St. Paul with Downtown Minneapolis, through the University of Minnesota. Currently, the Committee is accepting public comment on this preliminary recommendation, before making a final recommendation around the end of 2002 or beginning of 2003. The other options being considered include Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) and "no build." Another body is reviewing a set of alternatives for commuter rail through the Central Corridor that would likely utilize one of the existing freight railways.

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