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Thursday, November 5, 2015

Your Input in Shaping the Ford Site

By Mayor Chris Coleman

There is a lot of big development news happening in Saint Paul right now. On the Ford Site we are processing all the feedback from our 2015 public meetings and working to refine priorities and plans for zoning and public realm. I wanted to share an update on what the City is doing to advance the site to redevelopment where these 135 acres will emerge as a connected, livable and sustainable site and serve as a model for a 21st Century Community.

Right now, we are wrapping up the energy system, storm water management, and jobs strategy studies to set a course for implementation on these important elements for a resilient and livable place. Results and recommendations on all three of these key urban design and planning activities are expected by the end of the year.

public meeting participants

We have initiated a traffic study for the site, examining best ways to move traffic on and off the site, while encouraging more trips to occur by walking, biking and transit. Look forward to an upcoming public meeting to find out more about what the traffic study will encompass and how it will shape plans for transportation on the site.

Currently, we are awaiting the results of the environmental analysis from Ford. The city is working closely with Ford Land to expedite these results, which will inform zoning for the site. The zoning and public realm plan to be adopted by the City is the next and final step to position the site for the vibrant development that we have all envisioned.

The public input on this process has been extremely important as we work through the challenges and opportunities that this unique site offers. We look forward to sharing the summary of the community’s input at a public meeting on December 1st.

Further updates can be found at and via the Saint Paul’s 21st Century Community newsletter. Thank you for your ongoing support in this exciting effort to build a 21st century community!

Friday, May 15, 2015

Grilling Safety

Grilling food is one of the best ways to enjoy the beautiful spring weather, and one of the most popular ways to cook food.  But grill placement, lighting technique, and proper coal disposal are key to keeping your grill from causing a fire or burn injury -- improperly disposed ashes started a fire causing an estimated $65,000 in damages to this Saint Paul home last month. 

  Here are a few simple tips to stay safe while grilling.


General Tips

  • Propane and charcoal grills should only be used outdoors.  
  •  Keep grills away from your home, deck railings, and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.  
  • Keep a 3 foot safety zone around your grill to keep children and pets safe.   
  • Clean your grill after each use – leftover grease or fat can be a fire hazard.   
  • Never leave the grill unattended.

Propane/Gas Grills

  • Before the first time you use your grill each year, check the gas tank hose for leaks by applying soapy water.  When you turn on the gas, if there are bubbles, there’s a leak – turn off the gas and repair it. 
  • Always make sure the grill lid is open for at least 15 minutes before lighting it.  If the flame goes out, turn it off and wait at least 15 minutes before trying to reignite it.  If you smell gas while cooking, immediately get away from the grill and call 911. 

In this video, ESPN SportsCenter anchor, Hannah Storm, describes her experiences surviving a grilling accident that left her with burns to her face, neck, hands, and chest. 

 Charcoal Grills

  • NEVER use gasoline to light a grill!  If you choose to use lighter fluid, make sure it is charcoal lighter fluid and only use it before you light the fire – never after the fire’s already going. Keep charcoal and lighter fluid away from children and all heat sources.   
  • When you’re done grilling, let the coals completely cool and dispose of them in a metal container with a lid.  Improperly disposed of coals is the most common cause of fires from grilling.

Friday, March 6, 2015

An Inside Look at World-Class Innovation: 2015 Ford Site Study Tour

By Mayor Chris Coleman

Almost one hundred years ago, Henry Ford stood on 130 acres overlooking the Mississippi River in Saint Paul and saw a world of potential. Today, we as a city stand in that same place, but with a much different vision. As Mayor and lifelong resident of Saint Paul, it is both my duty and my desire to engage our community and lay a strong foundation for this once-in-a-lifetime development opportunity for our region.

I am deeply grateful for the large number of Saint Paul residents, business owners, artists and activists who have come out in droves to each community meeting, providing input and helping to shape our vision for the Ford site thus far. In just the past year, we have honed in on key principles and areas of focus for that vision: housing variety, jobs and tax base, energy and sustainability, varied transportation options, parks and amenities, and mixed uses and activities. 

Next, we must engage in the hard work of ensuring that our aspirations around transportation, sustainability and quality of life can become market realities. To do so, a group of Saint Paul leaders and I are embarking on a trip to Berlin, Copenhagen, Malmo and Stockholm to look beyond the borders of Saint Paul and into cutting edge, urban developments across Europe – places that have figured out how to implement big ideas. 

                                                 Aerial View of Copenhagen

Business representatives from the Saint Paul Area Chamber of Commerce, Greater MSP and the Saint Paul Port Authority will explore how job creation factored into successful mixed-use sites such as Adlershof Science and Technology Park, a 1,000 acre site that’s home to 450 companies and sustains 15,000 jobs. 

 Aldershof Science and Technology Park

Leaders from Xcel Energy and Saint Paul District Energy will speak with their counterparts about cutting-edge sustainability practices at places like Feldheim, a site that is completely self-sufficient when it comes to energy.

City and County leaders, along with representatives from Ford, will see what accessible green space, varied housing and public transportation can look like in Malmo, where no residence exists more than ¼ of a mile from a bus stop. And all along the way, members of our partner organizations such as the Saint Paul and McKnight Foundations will be inspired by how each site evokes culture and community. 

                                    The Bo01 City of Tomorrow in Malmo, Sweden

The importance of this trip cannot be overstated. As we get closer to the “For Sale” sign going up on the historic Ford site, one thing has become increasingly clear: just as it is necessary for us to learn from each other about what we aspire to as a community, it is equally necessary that we learn from those who have made their vision come to life – and build upon the work they’ve already done.  

As we move ever closer to placing this site on the market, we must continue to engage locally. I ask that each and every one of you whose lives are intertwined with the future of Saint Paul get involved. Follow the hashtag #FordSiteFuture on social media to get updates from our trip. Attend one of the monthly community meetings we have planned through the next six months, sign up for the newsletter and engage in content and updates on the project website, Make your voice heard as we go forth with one of the most exciting, impactful opportunities in Saint Paul. 

If done right, what was once home to Ford Motor Company can become one of the most sustainable, accessible communities in the world – a place where people, businesses and organizations across the globe will want to call home.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Four Great Winter Activities to Get Your Family Outdoors in Saint Paul

Don’t let the snow keep you indoors this winter. Bundle up the kids and get ready to kick that cabin fever as your family enjoys all the great winter activities, programs, and events Saint Paul has to offer.

Ice Skating

Ice Rink Locations
Saint Paul has fourteen locations with general skating rinks, as well as the Winter Skate refrigerated rink at Landmark Plaza and three refrigerated hockey rinks located at Phalen, North Dale, and Palace recreation centers. At the time of this post, North Dale, Palace, and Landmark Plaza are open, as well as several other rinks throughout the city. There is no cost to skate at Saint Paul ice rinks. For information on rink conditions, warming facility times, additional locations, and other information, visit the Ice Rink page.

Skating Lessons
For those who aren’t ready to hit the rink on their own just yet, Saint Paul Parks and Recreation offers skating lessons at Groveland, Langford Park, Phalen, North Dale, North West Como and Palace ice rinks. Children will learn all the fundamentals, including forward and backward skating, stopping, and falling safely. Lessons begin in January and online registration is available.

Family Skating Parties

Create memories at a Saint Paul Parks and Recreation Family Skating Party this winter! Parties take place in January at Hayden Heights, Phalen, Langford Park, North Dale, and North West Como recreation centers. Additional activities vary by location, but may include winter arts and crafts, snow games, hot chocolate, snacks, bonfires, snowshoeing and other winter themed activities. Family Skating Parties are free of charge. More information can be found online, or by calling the recreation center.

Skiing and Snowboarding

Cross Country Skiing
Cross country skiing is a great way to have fun outdoors and get a full body workout at the same time. Saint Paul Parks and Recreation offers groomed cross country trails for classic and skate skiing at Como Park Ski Center, Highland 9 Golf Course, and Phalen Golf Course. There is no cost to cross country ski with your own equipment. Cross country ski rentals and lessons are available at Como Park Ski Center. For cross country trail maps, conditions, and more information, visit the cross country ski website.

Downhill Skiing and Snowboarding

Who says you have to leave town to have a great time on the slopes? The Como Park Ski Center features two rope tows and a 150 foot vertical drop on 15 skiable acres. The Como Park Ski Chalet offers a warm retreat with restrooms, concessions and rental equipment. Snowboard and downhill skiing lessons are available in December and January for ages four and up. For hours, admission prices, rental rates, and other information, visit the Como Park Ski Center website.

Sledding Hills 

Feel the wind in your hair and the chill on your cheeks as you glide down a slope of fresh powder at a Saint Paul sledding hill. Saint Paul Parks and Recreation offers fourteen great sledding hills located at parks and recreation centers around the city. Hill slopes range from gentle to steep. There is no cost to slide. Check out a map and full list of locations on the sledding hill website.

Other Winter Activities
We could have listed 100 great winter activities in Saint Paul, but we will let you browse the rest yourself in our Winter/Spring Activity Brochure. Inside you will find more fun family programs and events such as Snow Cave Making, Geocaching on Snowshoes, Family Snowman Making, Ice Fishing, and more! Registration is available online for many activities.

Bonus: The Como Park Zoo is open seven days a week, 365 days a year. Hours are 10am-4pm through March. Admission is free, but donations are appreciated.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Have a Happy and SAFE Holiday Season

The holidays are a time for family festivities and good cheer, but unfortunately the holidays also present an increased risk of home fires. Cooking, candles, Christmas trees, and other holiday decorations all contribute to this seasonal increase in fires. Add to that the often hectic nature of the holidays, and the chance for home fires grows even more. However, with a little added awareness and a few safety precautions, most home fires can be prevented.
  • December is the peak time of year for candle fires, and more than half of all candle fires start when things that burn are too close to the candle. Consider the following:
  • Using a battery-operated flameless candle – there are many now that look and smell like real candles without the fire risk.
  • If you use a traditional candle, use a holder that’s sturdy and won’t tip over easily and place on a flat, uncluttered surface. 
  • Keep candles at least 12 inches away from anything that can burn.
  • Blow out all candles whenever you leave the room or go to bed, and never leave a child alone in a room with a lit candle.

Christmas Trees
Although Christmas tree fires are not common, when they do occur, they are more likely to be serious – an average of one in every 40 Christmas tree fires in the U.S. result in death.
  • If you use an artificial tree, make sure it is labeled, certified or identified by the manufacturer as fire-retardant. 
  • If you use a real tree, choose one that has fresh, green needles that do not fall off when touched. 
  • Before you place it in the stand, cut two inches from the base of the trunk. 
  • Add water daily to the tree stand to keep your tree from drying out. 
  • Make sure the tree is at least three feet away from all heat sources, including fireplaces, radiators candles, or heat vents – a heat source too close to the tree causes one in every six Christmas tree fires.
  • Never use candles to decorate the tree! 
  • After Christmas, get rid of the tree. 
  • Do not leave the tree within 10 feet of your home or garage. 
  • In this dramatic video, you can see how a dry Christmas tree becomes completely engulfed in flames and spreads to the entire room in less than a minute.

  • Some lights are for indoor or outdoor use only, while others can be used indoors and outdoors, so be sure to read the label to make sure you’re using the right kind of lights for the location. 
  • Replace any string of lights with worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections. 
  • Connect no more than 3 strings of mini lights or a maximum of 50 screw-in bulbs. 
  • Read the manufacturer’s directions for the number of strings of LED lights you can connect. 
  • Turn off all light strings before leaving your home or going to bed.

Holiday Entertaining
  • Make sure you have working smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms. Test each of them monthly and change the batteries at least once a year.
  • Ask smokers to smoke outside and keep their smoking materials with them so children don’t have access to them. Provide large, deep ashtrays for smokers. 
  • Stay in the kitchen and look when you cook! Keep anything that can catch fire at least 3 feet away from the stovetop and turn off burners when you leave the kitchen, even if it’s for a short period of time. 
  • Keep a lid nearby when you’re cooking to smother small grease fires. Slide the lid over the pan and turn off the stovetop. Leave the pan covered until it’s completely cooled. 
  • Never put water on a cooking oil fire.  For an oven or microwave fire, leave the door closed and turn off the heat. 

Project Safe Haven
Saint Paul homeowners can help make sure their homes are safe for the holidays by participating in Project Safe Haven. Through this free program, homeowners will get a brochure with a home safety checklist, and you can have Saint Paul firefighters come to your home to make sure your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms are installed correctly and working. They will also provide you with and install smoke alarms, carbon monoxide alarms, and stovetop fire extinguishers for free if you need them. 
For more information about Project Safe Haven, call 651-228-6273 or go to and click on the link for Project Safe Haven and let us help you make your home a safe haven from fire.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Saint Paul Celebrates Renovated Libraries

See the highlights reel from the recent reopenings of Sun Ray and Highland Park Libraries. Saint Paul Public Library welcomed over 5,000 people at these celebrations! The renovated libraries are now larger and brighter, and feature more meeting and reading space, additional computers and faster Wi-Fi, and interactive art and design.

Check it out!