Re-imagining Hidden Falls Creek

Hidden Falls Park has connected Highland Park to the river for decades, but what if there was a way to draw locals to the bluff more than through its current reputation and an alluring name?  Hidden Falls Creek has now risen back into visioning discussions of what could become of the Ford site and the possibilities are truly inspiring. Around 2009, Lucius Jonett, now Water Resources and Landscape Designer at Wenk Associates Inc., conducted his Capstone Project at the U of M on how the Hidden Falls Creek underneath the Ford Site could be brought back to the surface as a central feature of the new redevelopment. To resurface Jonett’s great work, as the public discussion around the redevelopment is stirring, ARISE invited Jonett to present on his findings at the October Highland District Council meeting.   After we heard about the St. Paul Dept. of Parks and Rec.’s proposal to revitalize below the falls, Jonett wowed the room with keen, clear explanation of how deep research of the site’s natural history, combined with new technical engineering, can make possible an inspiring and wealth generating community amenity. By “daylighting” Hidden Falls Creek, local residents and visitors can enjoy a new way to connect with each other and the natural surroundings, while increasing property values for homes and businesses. What was submerged by a cutting edge industry of its time can be a revived and celebrated, in a new model of development that values economic prosperity with community and the environment. Thank you, Jonett, for your great excellent, grounded visioning work!...

ARISE and Ford Site Studies on the Move

ARISE is on the move. Over the last few weeks ARISE has provided several opportunities for Ford Site stakeholders to discuss the proposed options for development of the site and the public input process. Setting zoning standards for the site is one of the key ways the city, and thus the public, can influence what is built.  To support stakeholders in understanding how the two proposed pathways for zoning relate to sustainability and citizen engagement, on September 30th, at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, ARISE walked Ford Site stakeholders through the proposed pathways and facilitated discussion exploring their implications. Those in attendance also reviewed the probable timeline for ongoing studies and the opportunities for public input throughout the coming months. You can read more about the ongoing studies and Mayor Coleman’s position in the press release on the ARISE website. Decisions on how the Riverview transit corridor is developed will greatly shape connectivity of the Ford site to the rest of the metro area, so on October 7th at Homecroft School, we hosted a representative from the Ramsey County Regional Rail Authority, Mike Rogers, to explain the options being considered in the Riverview Corridor transit analysis.  This exciting step in local transit development, connecting the Union Depot in St. Paul and the Mall of America, could connect the Ford Site with the final leg of the Twin Cities “transit triangle.” After several waves of public input, all transit options will be distilled into a “Locally Preferred Alternative,” to guide development of the corridor. There is a lot to watch here so ARISE will keep stakeholders informed of next steps and upcoming...

New Ford Site Studies: Public Input Pending

New momentum is picking up around the Ford site in St. Paul, as various groups involved in community planning and development are initiating studies that will set parameters for the site’s development (full press release). Speaking for the City of St. Paul, one of many players in this process, Mayor Coleman expressed that the site should “reemerge as a connected, livable and green site and serve as a model for a 21st Century Community.” ARISE is firmly behind this sentiment and we believe the Ford site has the potential to set a new standard for mixed-use redevelopment. This fall marks the next phase for this unique development, and ARISE is glad to see the planning groups involved building off of previous studies, proposing parameters in line with the St. Paul Road Map to Sustainability. Ongoing through this next year are four studies, covering zoning, jobs and employment, energy and sustainability, and transportation, which will have the first public comment periods open in October To follow through on best intentions being discussed around this site and to maximizes benefits to the surrounding community and region, ARISE is ready to support an inclusive process, by helping stakeholders participate in an informed way.  Please contact us for opportunities to learn about the public input process and about how proposed options for site development could impact you differently. ARISE will be holding several public meetings this year for this purpose. Full press release...

Small-Scale Manufacturing Building the Foundations for Economic Resiliency

One of our partners, Smart Growth America, recently published an article on the successes of redeveloping old industrial sites into smaller pockets of light manufacturing. These spaces are occupied by small-batch manufacturers and are demonstrative of a larger market shift back to manufacturing as the demand for locally-made goods increases and manufacturing technology becomes cheaper. Re-Industrializing in such a way can provide the economic benefit of high-value jobs, which induce increased economic activity and growth in the city and region. Sites like the Greenpoint Manufacturing and Design Center and Pier 70, both detailed in the article, show the social and economic benefits that can be gained by Re-Industrialization. It is now up to cities who desire to reap these benefits of such developments to zone for mixed-use industrial and encourage business growth to ensure a resilient local economy. The article is available...

Dangerous by Design 2014 Report

Minnesota is among the most dangerous states in the nation for pedestrians, ranking 13 most dangerous out of the 51 largest states, said a new report released by the National Complete Streets Coalition, a program of Smart Growth America. The same report also identified the Twin Cities as the fifth most dangerous community in the country. As ARISE continues to develop community focused mixed-use redevelopment plans, there is an opportunity to set a new precedent in the Twin Cities, valuing people over their vehicles. Mobility is not just a question of how to get where you are going, but how to create safe, thriving conditions for residents and visitors in a community. Over the decade from 2003 – 2012, 395 Minnesotans were killed while walking. The report, Dangerous by Design 2014, ranks America’s major metropolitan areas according to a Pedestrian Danger Index that assesses how safe pedestrians are while walking. The report found that the majority of those deaths likely could have been prevented with safer street design. The majority of pedestrian deaths occur on roadways that are dangerous by design —engineered and operated for speeding traffic with little to no provision for the safety of people walking, biking or using public transit. Sadly, older adults, children and minorities are the most at risk while walking, dying in disproportionate numbers. Nationally, in 2012, pedestrians accounted for 14 percent of all traffic deaths, up six percent from 2011 and representing a five-year high. Pedestrian safety is often perceived as a strictly local issue but, for decades, federal dollars have been invested in thousands of miles of state and local roads in the...