Despite our office having found this info before from the County, and despite having reported it to the individual who asked us to look into it, there have still been rumors flying that the Boys Totem Town site is restricted by some kind of covenant to an exclusively public use. These rumors are NOT TRUE.
The Ramsey County Attorney's Office has sent us the attached letter stating that there are NO RESTRICTIONS ON USE in the deed for the site.
This does NOT mean that anything goes at this site. The site is still governed by the underlying zoning constraints that the CITY institutes. What the public needs to know is that, if and when a large parcel of land such as this comes up for sale, it is quite common - and indeed wise - for the City to undertake a zoning study to see if the existing zoning is appropriate. We have been told by the City that it WILL conduct such a study when and if a large portion of this site becomes available for sale. This is a part of the CITY PROCESS - with its own public input process - that is NOT YET UNDERWAY...
In addition, we have the word of County Commissioner McDonough that the County WILL NOT sell the property until such a study has been done and any zoning changes are completed.
Again, none of this information is new. We reported it to the community members previously when their question about it first arose.
There have been a lot of statements made about what the Boys Totem Town Task Force is and what it is doing that are misleading at best and that could be construed as downright lies... We have tried repeatedly to clarify the purpose and the process. And so we try again...
The truth is that the Task Force is a group of neighbors who are gathering background information. They will also be pulling together input from the broader community to develop a recommendation to the District 1 Community Council of what its position should be WHEN TIME COMES that the City wants advice about a future use for the site. The Task Force is a group of open-minded, concerned and engaged residents who want to build a sense of community in the area through visioning a future that works for everyone. They will be facilitating discussions among neighbors, educating themselves about issues, and pulling together information. They come to the group with a wide variety of perspectives on the neighborhood, on what they personally would like to see at Boys Totem Town, and on what community means.
But they all agree on two things -- before we can determine a vision we need to develop a sense of community that includes everyone, and we need to keep an open mind as we work.
We hope that this clarifies some of the gross (and damaging) misstatements that have been made about the Task Force and its processes. The best way for community to have an impact on that process is to engage in the community-building and visioning processes that the Task Force and D1 staff have developed. And if you do, you will find that it is not only impactful and rewarding, but FUN!
On Monday, January 9 at Highwood Hills Elementary School, neighbors congregated for small group discussions about their visions for their neighborhood. About 80 - 100 people attended. The full coverage of the discussions are still being processed, but 4 major themes emerged:
After the small group discussions, participants had an opportunity to hear from Ramsey County about their work around the BTT site, from D1's UM intern about equity and access to parks, and from the City of Saint Paul about its Comprehensive Planning process.
There will be ANOTHER meeting on January 23, 6:30p at Battle Creek Rec where we will hear directly from Ramsey County Commissioner McDonough about Ramsey County's process to decide how to deal with the need to replace the current BTT facility. Another community workshop to further discuss a common vision for the neighborhood will happen in March.
If you want to hear the TRUTH about what is happening about this site, please contact our office to get on the email list for announcements, call our office with questions, or check back here. There are far too many misleading, inaccurate reports floating around the neighborhood about what is happening... Talk to US if you have questions - firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, 651-578-7600.
SouthEast Community Org Staff