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Stillwater sees Main Street development after completion of new bridge

MinnPost file photo by Steve Date

All going according to plan. KSTP’s Jay Kolls report: “The old Stillwater Lift Bridge closed last August, and the new St. Croix River Crossing is getting a lot of credit for a boom in downtown Stillwater business development. … Stillwater Mayor Ted Kozlowski said the city is excited by the growth on Main Street, which will soon be home to two new hotels with more than 100 rooms between them, five new restaurants and a distillery. Further, the old Zephyr train depot could become a new live theater. … ‘We are anxious to see these projects up and running this year,’ Kozlowski said. ‘The new bridge has reduced traffic congestion considerably, and that is why the developers are now willing to pump more money into new projects.’”

Is that even an option? MPR’s Brian Bakst reports: “Mark Dayton is already tired of being painted into a corner with questions about his legacy and demands for self-appraisal as he prepares to leave the governor’s office and retire from politics. … Don’t even get him started on one lasting mark he’ll leave at the state Capitol: the official portrait that will hang with 38 others throughout the building. … ‘Some of these issues that deal with the terms of my departure I have not focused on,’ Dayton told MPR News toward the tail end of an interview last week. ‘I’m not going to pay for it. I’m not going to ask the people of Minnesota to pay for it.’

Big CD8 forum. The Duluth News Tribune’s Lisa Kaczke reports: “All seven candidates hoping to represent the 8th Congressional District took the stage to voice their opinions for the first time on Sunday night. … Immigration reform and gun control were among the topics addressed during the two-hour candidate forum before an audience of more than 100 people at the College of St. Scholastica. Republican Pete Stauber, Independence Party candidate Ray “Skip” Sandman and five Democrats — Joe Radinovich, Kirsten Hagen Kennedy, Leah Phifer, Michelle Lee and Jason Metsa — are vying to fill the seat that will be vacated by U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan, D-Crosby, who decided to not run for re-election this year. ”

Cleaning up our act. MPR’s Cody Nelson reports: “Along the way, the Vermillion takes in polluted farm fertilizer runoff filled with nitrates, a health hazard that in high concentrations can cause headaches and cramps in adults and the life-threatening blue baby syndrome in infants. … Despite the work of local farmers to curb runoff, nitrate levels in the groundwater around Hastings, near the river’s mouth, have risen the past two decades. Recent testing in the Vermillion’s south branch found nitrate levels at more than twice the safe drinking-water standard. … Looking for answers, watershed experts this year are experimenting with a novel approach, combining two proven nitrate filters — wetlands and woodchips — into one project targeted at some of the Vermillion’s most nitrate-laden water.

In other news…

Coming in 2028:Hazeltine will become first U.S. repeat host of Ryder Cup” [Star Tribune]

Lots of shows:Minneapolis’ remade Armory is cranking up its concert calendar after Super Bowl test” [Star Tribune]

Ya rly:Spreading their wings: Rescued snowy owls returned to the wild” [MPR]

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Comments (5)

  1. Submitted by Tom Clark on 03/26/2018 - 01:20 pm.

    To all the naysayers about the new bridge at Stillwater

    who claimed it would kill the downtown area, it appears your assumptions were incorrect about that. I spent St. Patrick’s Day in downtown Stillwater and had a fun time and I didn’t miss all the old bridge traffic one bit.

    • Submitted by Charles Holtman on 03/26/2018 - 05:14 pm.

      It seems

      that you’re linking the closing of the lift bridge with the building of the new bridge. My view was that the lift bridge should have been closed to motorized traffic, period, without building a new bridge.

      To your assessment, if that alternative had been selected, how would downtown Stillwater have looked on St. Patrick’s Day?

      • Submitted by Tom Clark on 03/27/2018 - 10:08 am.

        Not my point

        which was the claim that closing the old bridge would lead to Stillwater being a backwater. FWIW, us ‘sconnies do use the new bridge to go there too, as well as commute elsewhere in the east metro. Unsurprisingly, the traffic count jumped for the new crossing due largely to commuters from North Hudson deciding to use the new bridge. It was never a viable alternative to just close the old lift bridge and not build a new bridge either, as traffic volumes had already grown at other crossings and existing bridges and corridors would have been inadequate to meet the sudden impact of closing the old bridge.

        As it is, the new bridge is working out well and people like how it looks. The only downside was the impact to businesses in Houlton that depended on traffic that vanished when the new bridge opened.

  2. Submitted by Charles Holtman on 03/27/2018 - 11:04 am.

    I guess folks had various perspectives.

    I never thought Stillwater would become a backwater; I figured folks in Stillwater knew well enough what would benefit the downtown. My objections were the facilitation of Twin Cities sprawl and the billion dollars (even if it looks nice). The dollars are spent, and as to sprawl I guess we won’t know for a while yet. I don’t recall anyone ever pointing to a capacity limit at the I-94 crossing as a reason to build the bridge. Anyway, it’s all nostalgia now.

    • Submitted by Tom Clark on 03/27/2018 - 03:30 pm.


      it’s all water under the bridge now, literally…

      I guess I still don’t get why sprawl is good for thee in Minnesota, and not for me in Wisconsin, all of twelve miles from downtown St. Paul. See I-94 corridor all the way to St. Cloud about that! Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for transit too, as well as increasing housing density in the core metro area. Those pesky NIMBYs sure do get bothersome whenever those issues come up though.

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