Wednesday, October 24, 4:30pm, St. Paul City Council Chambers on the third floor of City Hall, 15 Kellogg Blvd W. That is the time and place when the citizens of St. Paul will discover if their elected officials keep their promises or not.
Both Mayor Melvin Carter and Council Member Dai Thao, as mayoral candidates, said they believed St. Paul should keep its promise and expand the park according to city plans.
That was last year. This year, they say St. Paul should add even more to the high 20% vacancy rate of office buildings downtown and forget about the 20-year promise to complete the park.
You read that right. For 20 years, St. Paul renewed its pledge through its Comprehensive Plan and through Neighborhood Plans, that once the Public Safety Annex became vacant, it would be torn down to build the park.
Last week, Ryan Companies unveiled its updated version of the Ford Site Masterplan. Central to the entire plan is a park space that, in their view as well as ours, is far more than just a nice amenity but will be an asset to all those who live, work, play, and visit there. Looking at this through an equity lens, why should Highland residents have 50+ acres of public space at the Ford Site alone (the central park itself is 1/2 mile long) and downtown residents get 1/4 of a block?
The St. Paul Port Authority, the development arm of the City of St. Paul, believes that the City should pick a plan and stick with it. We agree that when the City goes back on its promises, it’s bad for business AND bad for citizens.
If the Public Safety Annex becomes office space, balconies will protrude over the park space. That means private space impinging on what little public green space there is.
Contact City Council Members and Mayor Carter and tell them to keep their promises to the citizens of St. Paul and Ramsey County. Rice Park, Mears Park, and the future park at the Ford Site, are regional attractions that do and will draw people to their neighborhoods, generating tax dollars.
Contact Council Members through this link: https://www.stpaul.gov/departments/city-council
Contact Mayor Carter through this link: https://www.stpaul.gov/departments/mayors-office
Attend the hearing on Wednesday, October 24, at 4:30pm. Speak if you choose. Make a stand for Pedro Park just by showing up. Bring your children and grandchildren. After all, when Mayor Carter says he wants to build a city that works for all of us, he presumably means them, too.