The Board of Directors presented a Committee Report to the membership at the annual meeting on June 24th.
2014-2015 Committee Reports
Arts, Culture, and Entertainment Committee Chairs: Ed Coleman, Bill Hosko
Purpose: This Committee will have responsibility for literary, creative, performing and visual arts in downtown Saint Paul, and in building relationships for CRC in these areas. The Arts Committee will continue to make sure that downtown Saint Paul is a place that welcomes artists and arts projects. The Committee will collaborate with the City of Saint Paul on public art policies, bridge connections with local artists and arts organizations, and advocate for artist-friendly neighborhoods downtown.
Report: The Arts, Culture, and Entertainment Committee met regularly this past year, inviting representatives from the Jazz Festival, Vieux Carre, and the Palace Theatre to make presentations on their events/projects. In addition, the Committee discussed efforts that could be undertaken to promote the Arts, Culture, and Entertainment events/venues of the district. The committee is currently pursuing a map of such venues that could be both be both collectable and functional.
Meets: Fourth Wednesday of the Month at 8:30 am – 16th Floor US Bank Building
Development Review Committee Chair: John Mannillo
Purpose: Committee reviews downtown development projects to ensure benefit, sensitivity and compatibility with our downtown community and vitality.
Report: The Development Review Committee reviews and advises the CRC Board of Directors on matters related to real estate development including projects that request public subsidy and those which impact the public. This includes permits and requests for variances of zoning. Some of the projects and issues the Development Review committee has heard over the last year are as follows:
• Opus Seven Corners Hardware Development • Dorothy Day Development
• Opus Seven Corners Gateway Development • Prince Street/Hwy 52 exit ramp
• Standard Oil Warehouse demolition • Ramsey County West demolition
Meets: Second Tuesday of the Month at 8:00 am – 16th Floor US Bank Building
Lowertown Ballpark Design and Construction Committee Chair: Bill Thurmes
Purpose: Throughout the project, the Lowertown Ballpark project team will work closely with the LBDCC to ensure that the ballpark enhances the historic and artistic character of the neighborhood. The committee provides a forum for community input throughout the design and construction process. The committee’s focus is to maintain a livable and economically viable neighborhood throughout the construction process and after the ballpark is operational.
Report: It was an exciting year as the former Diamond Products site was transformed from an industrial complex to CHS Field. The committee met monthly to review and provide direction for the design and construction of the ballpark. Our efforts helped form the beautiful final product that the Saint Paul Saints now call home. We encourage you to come to Lowertown and go to a game. Playball!
Meets: The LBDCC functions will now be handled by the Public Realm Committee
Marketing and Fundraising Committee Chair: Jonathan Hatch
Purpose: Committee raises visibility of CapitolRiver Council and supports the work of committees. The Committee also assists with increasing the operational and service capacity of CapitolRiver Council by raising funds from multiple sources.
Report: The Marketing and Fundraising Committee met regularly to organize efforts to raise the awareness of the organization through social events and electronic media. The Committee planned and hosted the Holiday Fundraiser at Tin Whiskers, which raised nearly $1,900 for the organization thanks to the wonderful donations made by many local business partners. Recognizing the need to diversify the audience of the First Friday events, the Committee pursued instead a Community Happy Hour that could be on any evening of the month. The Committee also planned the Annual Meeting event held June 24th at McNally Smith, and solicited direct donations and newsletter sponsorships.
Meets: Fourth Friday of the Month at 3:30 pm – Location Varies
Parking Committee Chair: Tom Erickson
Purpose: The Committee is working to engage the community in resolving current and persistent parking challenges, creating a comprehensive parking plan for downtown going forward, and addressing future parking issues as they arise.
Report: The CapitolRiver Council represents the residents, business and property owners in the downtown area and acts as an advisory body to the Mayor and City Council. All of these constituencies require convenient and affordable parking. In addition to parking, the growth potential of downtown St. Paul will be constrained without adequate space for service vehicles and loading zones.
The Parking Committee is exploring all possibilities to increase parking and vehicle access for the residents and business/property owners in downtown St. Paul. The Committee had numerous meetings in the past year which addressed these issues. Some recommendations were passed on to the Mayor and City Council. The Committee gave input to the Parking Study completed by the City of St. Paul. This study recognized a deficiency in on-street parking availability, and a poor match of parking supply and demand in some areas of downtown. The study has many recommendations, most of which are enthusiastically supported by the Committee.
Meets: First Thursday of the Month at 5:00 pm – 16th Floor US Bank Building
Planning Committee Chair: Paul Mandell
Purpose: The Planning Committee engages our district’s stakeholders to both participate in and review long range planning efforts undertaken by the City of St. Paul, Ramsey County, the Metropolitan Council, and the State of Minnesota.
Report: the Planning Committee held two meetings during the past year, one of which was an informational session from the City of St. Paul’s Public Works and PED Departments on transportation planning projects including several mass transit lines (Riverview Corridor, Gateway Corridor, Rush Line Corridor, Robert Street Corridor, etc…). The other meeting focused on a proposed Prince Street Extension to link Prince Street to the Highway 52 northbound exit ramp to allow improved access to Lowertown.
Meets: As Needed (First Tuesday of the Month at 7:30am) – 16th Floor US Bank Building
Public Realm Committee Chair: Rev. Bill Englund
Purpose: The Committee was newly formed this past year. The vision statement from the Saint Paul Downtown Development Strategy developed in 2003 (7.0 Public Realm, Parks and Recreation) is helpful in describing our guiding purpose as a committee: “Downtown will have an enhanced public realm, parks and recreation system that is easily accessible, attractive and well maintained and that celebrates downtown’s history, physical setting and proximity to the Mississippi River. … A healthy urban ecology will contribute to downtown’s sense of place and improve its quality of life.”
Report: Activities in which we have been involved this past year are: the Depot Tot Lot and TPT renovations, Capitol Improvement Budget project ratings, Rice Park improvements and reviewing the Kellogg Bridge reconstruction project. In the coming year we will be involved in the River Balcony project. We will also be monitoring and assessing the conditions and activities of our parks. We also serve as a venue to discuss grass roots efforts and other ideas concerning public spaces downtown.
Meets: Fourth Monday of the Month at 5:00 pm – St. Paul Riverfront Corporation office
Skyway Governance Advisory Committee Chair: Andy Flamm
Purpose: The Skyway Governance Advisory Committee was established by the City Council, under the banner of the Capitol River Council, to provide public input into decisions regarding Downtown Saint Paul’s skyway system, which is an integral part of the commercial and residential life of our city. The Committee has 7 voting members, but all are welcome to participate in the discussions.
Report: We see our role as listening to the concerns and suggestions of downtown residents, workers and business owners, and relaying them to the appropriate authorities. To that end, the Skyway Committee has taken the following actions in recent months.
• Created working groups to study and report on wayfinding and security
• Held a public meeting to discuss how to improve skyway navigation
• Met with city leaders to study how we might approach security issues
• Passed a resolution to end the early closing of Metro Transit’s vertical connection
• Passed a resolution to remove skyway signage that was considered distasteful
Looking ahead, it is our plan to address wayfinding, security and other issues with the hope of contributing to an improved skyway system as viewed by its many stakeholders.
Meets: Fourth Friday of every other Month at 9:00 am – 16th Floor US Bank Building