Patrick Larkin


Community-minded cop moves on up and out

Eastern District patrol commander Kevin Casper hugs a resident at his last community policing meeting on Wednesday, July 17. (Patrick Larkin/Review)

After seven years on the East Side, the St. Paul Police Department’s Eastern District commander Kevin Casper will be moving on up.
St. Paul Police Chief Tom Smith promoted him to senior commander in the Internal Affairs Department. Starting in August, Casper will be working out of the headquarters at 367 Grove St., on the edge of downtown.


A booster on the way for East Side business

The facade of the building at 798 Margaret St. will be getting a restoration before the building becomes the East Side Enterprise Center. (Patrick Larkin/Review)

Plans have turned into funds for a new community resource hub on the East Side.  
The Dayton’s Bluff Community Council and the Latino Economic Development Center have teamed up to put together what they’re calling “the East Side Enterprise Center.” They plan to move into a classic old building known as the Pabst building at 798 Margaret St. They’ve acquired funds from the city to move forward with buying and rehabbing it.


‘Wheelage’ tax passed to keep up Ramsey County roads

A pothole butts up against a recently repaired patch of road on White Bear Avenue, a county road that may be repaired in short order thanks in part to a new Ramsey County wheelage tax. (Patrick Larkin/Review)

The Ramsey County Board of Commissioners voted Tuesday to introduce a $10 “wheelage” tax to improve the county’s ailing roads.
The $10 per-vehicle charge, added onto license plate tab fees, will bring in an estimated $3.8 million dollars to fund major construction projects, according to a statement from the county.
Jim Tolaas, director of the county Public Works department, called the new funds “a major infusion that will actually make a meaningful difference that people will be able to see.”


Teenager dead from gunfire at Payne and Case - update

A memorial for the teenage homicide victim has been set up near the intersection of Payne Avenue and Lawson Street. (Patrick Larkin/Review)

St. Paul police said 17-year-old Vincent Arron Allison of St. Paul died in a shooting near the intersection of Payne and Case avenues last week.
A memorial near the site of his death had handwritten messages saying: "Gone but never forgotten;" "Love you bro;" and "May god bless the family." The messages, along with flowers were tied to a streetlight, with candles and other objects laid at the base of the pole.
According to the criminal complaint, police responded to a call at 9:26 p.m. Thursday, July 11, where they found the young man bloodied and without a pulse in the Salvation Army parking lot near Payne and Lawson avenues.


Parking plans meet neighborhood complaints

The current parking lot at Metropolitan State University’s St. Paul campus covers an entire city block and can accommodate 550 cars. As part of an expansion plan, the university intends to construct an 815-stall parking ramp on the lot, along with a student center and another building. (submitted graphic)

Metropolitan State University, with a growing student body, has been honing a master plan to expand in order to meet its projected growth rates. The construction plan includes a parking ramp, a student center and a new building for nursing programs.
Administrators are also awaiting approval of bonding funds from the state Legislature to put in a new science facility, something that’s been in the works for years.
The first bit of construction scheduled is an 815-car parking ramp on what’s currently a surface lot, located on the southeast side of East Seventh Street between Maria and Bates avenues. The proposal has stirred up a fair bit of dialogue.


City grants help move Hamm’s complex along

John Warner, majority owner of Flat Earth Brewing, stands inside the room where the beer will be brewed. The building is a long way from being cleared out, and is still full of cracked paint and graffiti. (Patrick Larkin/Review)

The Hamm’s site lies just east of Payne Avenue. (graphic illustration by Nik VanDenMeerendonk/Review)

A contractor stands in what will be the entryway to Flat Earth Brewing. The space used to be an on-site taproom for Hamm’s employees. (photos by Patrick Larkin/Review)

Dave Gontarek from the city’s Planning and Economic Development department points to the building that will be abated of asbestos and then demolished, thanks to a Metropolitan Council grant. (photos by Patrick Larkin/Review)

Flat Earth Brewing is hoping to put a beer garden into the ruins of a demolished structure beside their buildings. (photos by Patrick Larkin/Review)

Things are cruising along at the city-owned half of the Hamm’s complex.
So much so that the East Side could see businesses up and running on the site by this fall.
Urban Organics, which will be growing hydroponic lettuce and raising tilapia, has water in its fish tanks and hopes to do a test run of fish before the summer ends; Flat Earth Brewing is scrubbing its building, yanking out rusty machinery and sandblasting walls; and a future distillery owner is working with an architect to draw up plans for another one of the buildings.


New public art pieces to land on Beacon’s Bluff

The proposed sculpture by East Sider Philip Blackburn, titled “the Pendulum Beacon,” could end up on public land at Beacon Bluff next spring. (submitted photo)

When brainstorming for a new art installation at the Beacon Bluff site, East Side artist Philip Blackburn’s first question was: “Where’s the beacon?”
And indeed it’s true, there is no beacon to speak of at the former 3M manufacturing site, which is now owned by the St. Paul Port Authority.
But Blackburn’s project should change that. He plans to install what he calls “a next generation beacon” along the public path at the St. Paul Port Authority’s development zone.


East Sider picks up historic bar’s reigns

Schwietz Saloon got picked up by a new owner, East Sider Ed Bertges, who’s hoping to open the place as soon as August. (submitted photo)

Schwietz Saloon, the well-known, well-trodden bar near Payne and Case avenues, could be open again as soon as August. It’s been closed since December 2011, but was purchased last October by small-business owner Ed Bertges.
The East Side resident is hoping to open the place up as soon as Aug. 1 with a full kitchen and bar. He plans to change the name slightly by adding Eatery to the end of it. He has yet to acquire licenses from the city council but expects to see it show up on a council agenda imminently.
Adding food to the picture was a necessity under current city code, he said, adding that he’s got a menu he’s excited about. He’s hoping to eventually run the place like a brewpub, which would include brewing beer on the premises.


Teenager dead from gunfire at Payne and Case

An 18-year-old male is dead after a shooting near the intersection of Payne and Case avenues in the Payne-Phalen neighborhood on St. Paul's East Side, according to the St. Paul Police Department.
Police responded to a call at 9:26 p.m. Thursday, July 11, where they found a young man with a gunshot wound lying in a parking lot near Payne and Lawson avenues.


Squatting art park could face demolition

Ronald “Arjo” Adams sits beside some scrap metal he salvages to make sculptures for his art park.

A view of the park at 680 Wells St.

Adams hauled bricks one-by one from demolished homes down in the valley below 'the People’s Park' to build a retaining wall for the place.

A couple of metal sculptures hang from a tree at the art park.

Ronald “Arjo” Adams stands atop a retaining wall he built himself using of old rail ties.

A wind vane sits high up in a tree at the clandestine art park at 680 Wells St.

The park at 680 Wells St. is a strange, charming spot.
With quirky sculptures, picnic tables and gardens terraced into the steep hill, it’s a place familiar to many in the Payne-Phalen neighborhood.
It’s in many ways an extension of its maker, 60-year-old Ronald Joseph Adams, who goes by the nickname Arjo.