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St. Paul's West Side hopes zoning helps bring 100,000 Cinco de Mayo visitors back for more

More than 100,000 people crowd into the West Side neighborhood for St. Paul's annual Cinco del Mayo celebration. The area's appeal as a place for shopping, entertainment and doing business the rest of the year should get a boost, now that the commercial zone collectively called District del Sol has gained Traditional Neighborhood (TN) zoning status.

That's the hope of local businesses and residents who pushed for two years to get TN zoning, says Roxanne Young, commercial development manager at Riverview Economic Development Association (REDA).

A big reason TN zoning has had support on the West Side is the mixed-use development it allows: a veterinary clinic with the doctor living upstairs is an example Young offers. That's a common pattern along St. Paul's most vibrant commercial street, Grand Avenue, she says, and TN zoning has a good track record of encouraging pedestrian-focused development along other neighborhood corridors such as Rice and Arcade streets.

Design guidelines that accompany TN zoning will also come in handy as REDA pursues redevelopment of the District del Sol's major intersection at Robert and Cesar Chavez (Concord) streets. It's a gateway from downtown St. Paul just across the Mississippi River, yet with its vacant buildings and vacant land Young says it's been "blighted and underutilized for more than 20 years."

TN zoning has residential and commercial neighbors "looking at opportunities opened up for mixed-use development," she says. That would add a reason for visitors to return to an area where, Young says, for most businesses Cinco de Mayo stands as "one of the main ways to recruit new audiences."

Source: Roxanne Young, Riverview Economic Development Association
Writer: Chris Steller
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