Close to 10,000 people trek down the 15th Avenue Southeast stretch of Dinkytown on an average autumn weekday. With that level of foot traffic, area businesses constantly seek ways to make their residents and visitors feel safe, said Mike Mulrooney, president of the Dinkytown Business Alliance and owner of Blarney Pub and Grill. “It’s not that we feel there is anything wrong,” Mulrooney said. “It’s just that we want to provide the most safe environment that we can.”
After the sun sets in Southeast Como, the neighborhood’s residents often become alert and uneasy as they make their way home down dimly lit sidewalks. But the Southeast Como Improvement Association is looking for solutions to that problem by administering an online survey for residents that aims to better understand the issue and to gauge their interest in various solutions. “It’s a safe neighborhood, but it’s very dark, so you have to look over your shoulder,” said economics and global studies junior Feven Gerezgiher.
Green Line light-rail service was interrupted for about an hour and a half on Monday when a train struck a St. Paul police cruiser. The police car was traveling northbound on Pascal Street North in St. Paul with sirens blaring and lights on about 2:30 p.m., said Metro Transit spokesman Howie Padilla. The train hit the car as it crossed the tracks on University Avenue West. The police officer involved in the crash briefly lost consciousness, Padilla said, and was taken to Regions Hospital for neck pain. None of the train’s passengers were injured, he said.
A proposed amendment to city code could let residents legally house family — especially extended or elderly family members — in converted garages, attics and basement spaces called “granny flats” or “mother-in-law apartments.” While proponents of the change say it would provide greater housing flexibility in urban neighborhoods where space is tight, some city officials and residents have concerns that some would misuse the self-contained home additions.
When Al Milgrom arrived in Dinkytown in 1940, Simms Hardware was only halfway through its 115-year stint. Now, the building that once housed Simms is the site of Espresso Royale, whose windows Milgrom, 92, faced Monday afternoon as he thumbed a scribbled-in legal pad and sipped a small McDonald’s coffee. Before recounting his lifelong love for Minnesota and cinema, Milgrom unwound a red woolen scarf from his neck, but he kept his navy conductor cap on — one of many hats he’s worn over the years.
At a Cedar-Riverside neighborhood meeting earlier this month, a Somali elder stood and addressed attendees, painting an image of a recent frightening encounter with what he believed was a gang of drunken, homeless individuals. “[The man] got out his hat that he had been wearing that day. It looked like egg or something splattered on it,” said Debbie Wolking, the housing development program manager for West Bank Community Development Corporation, which provides affordable housing in the neighborhood.
Over the three-day stretch in April when the Gophers made it to the NCAA Frozen Four final and lost the championship game, riots broke out in Dinkytown. On both nights of the two University of Minnesota men’s hockey games, students and fans flowed through the area, closing down streets and drawing police in riot gear.
From a bird’s eye view, Southeast Como is a swatch of green. But where Southeast Elm Street begins, the tree-lined residences give way to gray-roofed industrial space. Now equipped with a $3,000 seed grant from Minnesota’s Clean Energy Resource Teams, the neighborhood is looking to spread the green to its outer reaches. Using the money, the Southeast Como Improvement Association is pinpointing properties for the potential sites of rooftop gardens, green roofs and community solar and wind energy stations.
In one week, as fall nears its end, rake-wielding street sweepers will begin their work scouring the city’s roads. Parking will be restricted and cars will be towed while the city sweeps away autumn and prepares for another Minnesota winter with ice-ridden conditions and salted roads. Though it’s a matter of days before sweepers clear out the yearly debris of leafy trees, the city and the University of Minnesota have been preparing for snow since last spring.
When the Department of Postsecondary Teaching and Learning announced last week that it will shutter in two years, it left some faculty members worried about their future in the college. While the College of Education and Human Development leaders said the dissolution of its department won’t eliminate any programs, some faculty members within PsTL fear the closure will cost some academic professionals their jobs and affect student services.