Roseville adopts Rice/Larpenteur vision plan


courtesy of City of Roseville • On July 23 the Roseville City Council adopted the Rice Street/Larpenteur Avenue vision plan, which calls for completely updating and revitalizing the area.

Though it gave it good reviews in March, on July 23 the Roseville City Council officially adopted the Rice Street/Larpenteur Avenue vision plan that will be used to help guide redevelopment in the area.

The plan was a collaboration between Roseville, St. Paul and Maplewood, the three cities that converge at the intersection, with help from Ramsey County and consulting firm Perkins+Will.

The area has long been the target of improvement. Complaints about crime are common, safe pedestrian crossings of the major roads are few and the corridor is dominated by strip malls and large, typically empty asphalt parking lots.

A number of advisory groups were involved in drafting the plan, made up of elected officials, city staffers and area stakeholders, and input was also gathered at community events, including a June event held at the Rice/Larpenteur intersection put on by the three cities.

The plan is made up of specific visions for individual sites: for example, the former Minnesota National Guard armory site at 211 N. McCarrons Blvd. could become a mix of single-family homes and high-density housing, a plan that’s been shared with developers by Roseville city staff.

There could be wholesale change at the strip mall area that houses My Thrift Store and Lamplighter Lounge strip club in St. Paul, with it being redeveloped into a mixed-use area with retail and housing.

The plan also calls for a concerted effort to improve biking, walking and transit throughout the area. In a brief presentation at the July 23 council meeting, Community Development Director Kari Collins said the well-attended June event underscored that need.

“If there’s one thing that’s for sure, the vision plan identifies that we have a walking population in a corridor where there isn’t adequate infrastructure for walking facilities,” she said, noting pedestrian improvements are a priority.

She said the next step in implementing the plan will be putting together a Rice/Larpenteur alliance, a group that would initially include government officials, though city council members said they’d prefer if it eventually shifted to a stakeholder focus, being made up of business owners and others whose lives are focused on the area.

Collins said the vision plan is referenced in Roseville’s 2040 Comprehensive Plan, though without specifics, so the vision plan can adjust on the fly to changes in the area. If the Rice/Larpenteur vision ideas were spelled out in the comprehensive plan, it would require city action to change them.

Council member Jason Etten, who lives in southeast Roseville near the intersection, said he recently spoke to an area business owner who said he was pleased with the plan the city had put together. 

“It will incentivize positive development and redevelopment,” Etten said. “People will say, ‘Wow, this is going to look like this, and this is where I want my business.’”

With respect to the alliance, Mayor Dan Roe stressed the need for stakeholders to lead the way.

“We’re not trying to make this a top-down effort,” he said.

The council adopted the vision plan unanimously with a 3-0 vote — council members Lisa Laliberte and Tammy McGehee were not present — and Etten capped the discussion with a call to action.

“I think this is excellent,” he said. “Let’s get to work.”

To have a look at the plan, go to www.riceandlarpenteur.com.

 

— Mike Munzenrider

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