Community notebook : Paint by numbers

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September 14, 2009 // UPDATED 9:50 am - September 14, 2009
By: Amanda Kushner
Amanda Kushner

Paint by numbers

In view from Walker Art Center, Joshua Sarantitis, of St. Paul, wanted to paint a mural that would relate to the cultural fabric of the Loring Park neighborhood.

Inspired by Monet’s water lilies, he is designing a mural on three sides of the Loring Ramp at Nicollet Mall and Grant Street.

“I wanted to do something that is graphic and bold and had some detail with color that moves with the light,” he said.

When ramp owner Alatus LLC purchased the ramp in 2007, along with four additional ramps, the city required facade improvements as part of the agreement.  

Originally the ramp was going to be painted a solid beige color. Then City Council Member Lisa Goodman (7th Ward) suggested Alatus team up with Forecast Public Art, said David Hunt, a design-build manager with Alatus.

“Does that paint come in other colors?” Jack Becker, executive director of Forecast Public Art said while discussing his light-bulb moment.

Two months ago Forecast Public Art held a competition with three artists to present ideas for the ramp. Sarantitis’ design was chosen earlier this summer, Hunt said.

Becker said that this project is challenging for Sarantitis because usually he does the painting instead of handing it over to someone else.

But Sunrise Painting & Wallcovering is painting the ramp to Sarantitis’ design. The project is using Nova Color paint from Los Angles, a special mural paint with a higher acrylic content that only needs one coat, Becker said. He said the cost isn’t much greater, but it is a better quality paint. The project, including fees paid to artists for the competition, costs $50,000, Hunt said.

Sarantitis’ design will use squares of color, each about 10 feet-by-10 feet, to decorate the 10-story ramp with 75 colors.

“It is basically a color by number,” said Kelli Peifer, owner of Sunrise Painting & Wallcovering. Peifer expects the project to be done in a month.

Sarantitis said each number corresponds to a different color, and it will be painted top to bottom and from right to left.

But after the painters had started on the first column of paint, Sarantitis said that some of the colors were too dark, and he planned to remix.



The Crux begins gathering

Starting Sept. 20, The Crux, a new Lutheran Church with a focus on Downtown will begin an informal worship gathering with Pastors Paul and Renee Spaulding at
7 p.m. Sunday evenings at DeLaSalle High School, 1 DeLaSalle Drive. Paul Spaulding has been a pastor for 34 years and his wife, Renee, has been a pastor since 2001.

Affiliated with Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ, The Crux will bring the message of the gospel to the generation that is 45 and younger, Paul Spaulding said.

“We are conservative theologically and biblically oriented but want to try and bring a message that is authentic to the people in this culture,” he said.

Paul Spaulding said that since the gatherings are Sunday nights it has a different feel than Sunday morning, and the couple will try to pick up on the quiet, more reverent and relaxed nature of the gathering and tie that connection to the symbolism of the faith.



Fixing up the neighborhood

Already thinking about next year’s growing season, Ryan Companies US, Inc. volunteers built raised beds and then filled them with compost as a part of the company’s annual Community Service Project.

The city provided 63 cubic yards of compost to fill 30 planting beds, which were built on three sites. The beds will provide
residents with space for food production.

Eighty volunteers participated in the Community Service Project, which also included sidewalk repairs, landscaping and painting in an effort to fix the “little things” in the neighborhood.



North Loop Plan meeting Sept. 24

The city is updating the Downtown East North Loop Master Plan to include areas of the North Loop not covered in the original small area plan. This planning process will set policy guidelines for land use and development in the North Loop.

Principal City Planner Beth Elliott said the city realized the ballpark and multimodal station may have an influence beyond the area covered in the original plan.

“We felt like the rest of the North Loop neighborhood could eventually have development pressure, land use changes, obviously transit changes that we didn’t have enough policy guidance for in order to make good decisions,” Elliott said.

On Sept. 24 the city will present their recommendations to stakeholders in four categories: future land use, development intensity, transportation and infrastructure, and urban design. The open house is from 4:30–6:30 p.m. with a short presentation at 4:45 p.m at Currie Maintenance Facility, 1200 Currie Ave. N.

Elliott said the city expected a pent up market demand in the lower North Loop, but a market consultant said there won’t be demand unless public entities make dramatic infrastructure improvements. So instead of assuming land use will change over time one recommendation in the plan is that if land use doesn’t change the city and other public agencies have a responsibility to improve infrastructure.

“We are trying to, in this plan, deal with a variety of scenarios that might happen. If development doesn’t occur what should happen in the neighborhood; if development does occur what should it look like,” Elliott said.

The consultant also said that a Southwest Corridor LRT station on Royalston would be a trigger for private development, which Elliott did not expect.

After the community meeting the city will make revisions then the plan will be available for a 45-day public review. Elliott said the city will distill comments and after changes are made she expects the plan to be presented to the Planning Commission and City Council in January and February, she said.


Northstar Line launches on Nov. 16

Brian Lamb, general manager of Metro Transit, is gearing up to say “All Aboard” when the Northstar Line launches on Nov. 16.

Rates have also been set for the region’s first commuter-rail, which will travel along highways 10 and 47 to and from Big Lake and ending at Target Field Station. The fares are determined by the distance between each station and Downtown Minneapolis on the 40-mile line, but riders on longer commutes may see a price increase in the first 12 months. Introductory rates will ranges from $3.25–$7.

During the first year, 3,400 passengers are expected to use the rail weekdays. An increase within the first year is expected to reach 4,100 passengers. The route will include five morning and five afternoon trips during peak hours with one reverse trip scheduled for the morning and afternoon. Weekends and holidays will have three round trips scheduled.

On Aug. 26 a groundbreaking ceremony in St. Cloud marked the beginning of construction on the Northstar Link Commuter Coach park and ride lot, which will take passengers to the Northstar Link station in Big Lake. The lot, which costs $565,000 to build, will have 140 spots, and the proposed ticket price is $3.

Reach Amanda Kushner at