Right now the West St. Paul city council is debating the 2018 budget and a potential 10-12% levy increase. Yes, taxes are going to go up.
This really isn’t a surprise, especially since the city has been unable to secure state help in paying for the recent Robert Street reconstruction (I explored taxes vs. investment last year).
These are preliminary numbers and the city council and mayor are working to bring those numbers down—nobody wants a huge tax increase. They will wrangle over ways to slash the budget, including closing the city pool and Thompson Golf Course, delaying improvements to Marthaler Park and more.
Budget cuts are painful, no way around it. Wouldn’t it be nice if there were a way to invest in West St. Paul without adding to the budget?
Oh yeah, there is: The Robert Street Tunnel. Continue reading Robert St. Tunnel: Invest in West St. Paul Without Raising Taxes
Just when I was starting to blog about other things (two posts in a row!), the tunnel comes up again. This time the proposed River-to-River Greenway and Robert Street tunnel in West St. Paul received high-profile coverage in the Pioneer Press.
Unfortunately, it’s not good news:
Plans for the tunnel are on the shelf for now as officials wait for retail development to play out nearby.
As the article explains, there’s potential for development on both sides of Robert Street where the tunnel would cross. That’s not new. So far, none of those projects have come together (the last attempt by Pebb Enterprises failed because they wanted the city to pitch in $4 million to make it work).
What is new is the city saying they don’t want to hinder any potential development, so the tunnel can’t happen.
This is odd for several reasons: Continue reading Robert Street Tunnel on Hold for No Good Reason
I went for a bike ride today in the glorious June weather. I decided to check out the River-to-River Greenway trail in my own West St. Paul neighborhood.
Well, I biked the sections of nice trail, OK trail, crappy sidewalks and really bad connections that make-up what could eventually become the River-to-River Greenway trail through West St. Paul. It’s not officially designated as such just yet, mainly because West St. Paul is dragging its feet and turning its nose at about $3 million of county, state and federal money. More on that in a minute.
Here’s the path the River-to-River Greenway currently takes:
Continue reading Biking the River-to-River Greenway
A couple weeks ago I spoke at a West St. Paul city council meeting for the third time in three months.
This is starting to get a little ridiculous, right? You might think I have aspirations to run for office, but if you’ve seen any of those appearances it should be clear that I do better behind a keyboard than a podium.
I’m speaking up a lot because I’m convinced with the current political climate we can no longer just sit back and assume everything is OK. So I’ve gone to council meetings and spoken out against firing a city manager, for accepting a grant for sidewalks (which later passed unanimously), and most recently I spoke in support of the River-to-River Greenway trail.
If you’ve been following my blog or social media lately, you may have noticed that I don’t stop talking about that trail. It’s the proposed River-to-River Greenway trail and Robert Street tunnel in West St. Paul. I’ve blogged about it, tweeted, shared on Facebook and talked about it in person. I’ve contacted my city council members, I’ve met with local leaders, I’ve attended meetings, I helped with a Rotary Club presentation. I talked at city council and wrote a letter to the editor.
So why won’t I shut up?
Because I think this trail is a great opportunity for West St. Paul.
But if we don’t support it, it won’t happen. Continue reading Why Won’t I Shut Up About a Trail?!
I’m a big fan of the River-to-River Greenway trail, a Dakota County project that will complete a regional trail through West St. Paul with a tunnel under Robert Street.
I’ve talked about why I think it’s an awesome idea and I’ve explored some misconceptions about the project.
I’ve also been accused of spreading misinformation about the project. That’s certainly not my intent. I’ve researched the original documents from Dakota County, talked to people involved and done my best to provide clear, honest answers. I’ve pushed to have an open dialogue about this project so we can consider all arguments and make the best decision.
With that in mind, I wanted to address some of the questions I’ve heard about the project:
- What’s it going to cost?
- Why a tunnel and not a bridge?
- Will a tunnel be safe?
- How will construction impact Robert Street?
- What about development?
- Can the River-to-River Greenway cross Robert Street anywhere else?
- What happens when the trail crosses Wentworth Avenue?
- Will the trail really see 140,000 people?
- Why do we say WSP Greenway?
Ready? Let’s dive into the details… Continue reading River-to-River Greenway Questions