Public hearing set for March 7 for sale of disputed St. Anthony Park Library property

The City of St. Paul and St. Paul Public Library will hold a public hearing Wednesday, March 7, to consider the sale of a portion of city land within the St. Anthony Park Library property to the adjoining residential property to the south of the library.

The hearing will be held at 5:30 p.m. in the council chambers on the third floor of City Hall, 25 W. Fourth St.

The proposed sale comes more than two years after a 2015 survey revealed that a portion of the property long believed to be a part of the home located at 2239 Como Ave. is part of the St. Anthony Park Library property. Two earlier surveys show a different boundary.

A survey commissioned by the city of St. Paul during the library’s 1998 expansion project and a subsequent survey in 2006 showed the property line to be at the top of a rocky slope behind the library.

Some St. Anthony Park residents, including a group of volunteer gardeners who have created and maintained many of the gardens at the library, have expressed opposition to the sale; but after more than a year of study, the St. Paul Public Library proposed the sale of most of the land in question to Richard and Nancy Foss, the homeowners.

Library and city staff members met with St. Anthony Park Community Council members in May 2016 to discuss the disputed property line and a community meeting hosted by then Ward 4 City Council member Russ Stark was held at the St. Anthony Park Library in June.

In October, former St. Paul Public Library director Jane Eastwood sent a letter to interested parties stating the library’s support of the sale of most of the land in question and outlining the process in the decision making:

  • The property is not considered to be necessary for future library expansion, and the significant gradient change between the library structure and the homeowners’ yard would make the property difficult to use for further expansion.
  • The library is unaware of any active use of the property by the city historically or in the current era.
  • The Ramsey County taxation office considers the property in dispute to belong to the owners of 2239 Como Ave.; therefore, the owners have been paying taxes on the land in consideration for sale. A Ramsey County GIS tax map shows the property’s boundary to be in concordance with the 1998 and 2016 surveys.

The library has proposed retaining a small portion of the property at the top of the slope, to allow space for a walking path proposed by the volunteer gardeners.

Catherine Penkert, St. Paul Public Library’s new director, sent a letter to interested parties Feb. 1 stating that the library and the mayor’s office have reviewed and support former director Eastwood’s recommendation.

You may register your opinions on the issue at the public hearing or submit written testimony in advance of the hearing to ward4@ci.stpaul.mn.us.

The city council will vote on the matter on March 7, after hearing the public comments.

You can read Catherine Penkert’s Feb. 1 letter here.

 

    2 Responses

    1. Father Hennepin

      The obvious solution is to refund the tax money incorrectly charged, and maintain the property as public, not to sell it to private ownership.

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