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Friday, May 23, 2008

St. Paul to lose a piece of its past

Please click onto the COMMENTS for the story.


Blogger Bob said...

West Side stairs to be razed after rock-fall damage
By Dave Orrick
Article Last Updated: 05/21/2008 12:15:24 AM CDT

Crews this morning will begin razing the 1916 stair tower that connects St. Paul's West Side bluffs with the river flats below. However, the structure's green roof will be preserved for another use. (Scott Takushi, Pioneer Press)St. Paul's a thrifty city.

The West Side's iconic green stairway will be dismantled starting this morning, but its green roof will be saved, tucked away in some large memory box for ... well, no one's sure yet.

"I don't know that there's a plan for what to do with it," said Shannon Tyree, spokeswoman for the city's Department of Public Works.

The 92-year-old stairway, which descends from Prospect Boulevard atop the West Side bluffs to the flats along the Mississippi River near Wabasha Street, has been closed for several weeks.

The structure sustained a crushing blow from a hunk of limestone, which earlier this month tumbled 80 feet from the bluff and damaged a steel beam, city officials said Tuesday.

The impact cracked a gusset plate, rendering the 191-step stairway too rickety, so crews from Bolander & Sons will take it apart, possibly as early as 7:30 this morning. Expect several days of lane closures along Wabasha, as cranes secure the tower while crews wielding cutting torches disassemble it.

The first section to come off will be the elevated walkway accessing the top of the tower. Then, the top third will be sliced off and lowered to the base of the bluff for further dismantling — and saving the roof.

The hip roof is rumored to be modeled after the one on the nearby Torre de San Miguel (Tower of St. Michael's), the 66-foot-high bell tower that was the crowning feature of the old St. Michael's Catholic Church before it was razed in 1970.

The 1882 tower, however, was preserved.
The most popular idea floating around City Hall for reuse of the stairway roof? A picnic shelter.

Mayor Chris Coleman and other officials hope the 1916 stairway can be rebuilt, but for two decades, the city has been unable to secure the funds. U.S. Sens. Norm Coleman and Amy Klobuchar are attempting to get $2 million next year to replace the structure, officials said.

For years, the stairway has been inspected regularly at an annual cost of $16,000. Last year, maintenance costs totaled $60,000, according to the city.

Still, the structure and its wood-plank stairs endured as a practical landmark, offering a shortcut for pedestrians as well as a leg-pounding workout for school athletic teams, firefighters and fitness-minded residents.

9:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The city probably dropped a rock on it because it represented a liability.

10:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I will tell you what also smells bad, the State of Minnesota, after the legislature agreed to pay out millions to settle the bridge collaspe, now blames the bridges demise to a failure by the legislature to FUND repairs ?
Bullshit, more like the State didnt inspect this bridge because they knew of its magor flaws.isn't it a coincidence that this West Side stairs has Gusset plates of the sort similar to that in design of the bridge that fell in Minneapolis ?

10:16 AM  
Anonymous SPIF said...

There is an interesting and informative discussion going on at Saint Paul Issues and Forums on this topic.

11:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, well the city just didn't have the bucks to maintain them.

Consider, for instance that the Mayor had to recently come up with an additional $5K a year to reward the Director of Public Works for blowing through his $42M budget and coming up several $M short.

Costs lots of money to run an asylum, and that shit don't grow on trees, ya know.

1:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"There is an interesting and informative discussion going on at Saint Paul Issues and Forums on this topic."

Thanks, but we can get the same effect by putting a sea shell to our ears.

1:45 PM  
Blogger John Krenik said...

Hi All,

The Green Staircase is vitally important to the West Side community. By the city’s inability to respond to saving this historic landmark and just tear it down is really a statement as to the dire state and extreme mismanagement under Mayor Chris Coleman. By the mayor’s inability to respond to this immediate emergency to save this historic landmark, sends a strong statement to the West Side community as to what this administration’s priorities really are.

It all comes down to money. If St. Paul Public Works director, Bruce Beese hadn't overspent his department's budget by over $4.2 MILLION we would have had the money needed to repair this historic landmark for generations to come.

You would think that if a city manager overspends his budget by $4.2 MILLION he would be in trouble, but what does our mayor do, he gives Mr. Beese a pay raise of $5,000.00 to bring his salary to $115,000.00 per year.

4:43 PM  
Anonymous Jeff Matiatos said...

I think Mr.Beese just retired in time to escape blame.

Jeff Matiatos

5:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The property owners on the top don't want the ref raft walking by their homes anymore.
Keep this area secluded for those that think this view of the river and the city is only their's.

12:56 PM  

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