Monthly Archives: August 2012
Construction moves forward on ex-Heartland site
St. Joseph News-Press
Talbot and Sons Construction company crew members finish the foundation walls Friday morning at the ex-Heartland site. The City Council passed an ordinance in December to establish an 18-lot subdivision on the property generally bounded by Robidoux Street on the north, Faraon Street on the south, Seventh Street on the west and Ninth Street on the east. The majority of lots will hold single-family homes, with four planned for two-family units.
By Clinton Thomas St. Joseph News-Press
The vacant lots north of Downtown will not remain empty much longer.
Workers poured the foundation Friday for the first home in the Robidoux District — the name given to the former Heartland campus in Uptown St. Joseph.
Tim Minson of Minson Homes, the general contractor who will build the assorted houses and townhouses, said he was pleased to make progress on the project.
“We’re probably going to start framing the house late next week,” Mr. Minson said. “Two weeks or so after that, we’re planning to break ground on one of the two-family townhomes and then we’ll go from there.”
The City Council passed an ordinance in December to establish an 18-lot subdivision on the property generally bounded by Robidoux Street on the north, Faraon Street on the south, Seventh Street on the west and Ninth Street on the east. The majority of lots will hold single-family homes, with four planned for two-family units. Common areas and walking paths will connect the new development to the surrounding neighborhood.
Earlier this month, the council approved the use of $1.16 million in federal grant funding to provide a number of infrastructure upgrades in the neighborhood.
The grant, which requires no local match, will pay for street milling and overlay, storm sewer repairs, along with new streetlights, sidewalks and street trees. The project represents a larger version of the demonstration block the city completed earlier this year from 10th Street east to 11th Street and from Church Street south to Frederick Avenue.
City planners approve school sites
Posted: Friday, August 24, 2012 6:00 pm | Updated: 6:11 pm, Fri Aug 24, 2012.
By Alonzo Weston St. Joseph News-Press
The St Joseph Planning Commission approved the building sites for two new public schools during Thursday night’s meeting. But the decision did not go without some public opposition.
The schools come by way of a $42 million bond issue that voters passed in April. The board selected Ellison-Auxier Architects to build an approximately 75,000-square-foot elementary school at Cook and Bishop roads and River Bluff Architects to construct a similar-sized structure at 14th and Duncan streets. St. Joseph School District officials requested a review and approval from the Planning Commission for the projects.
So far, no design has been set for the structures, said Stephen Briggs, school district attorney.
“Concepts, that’s all we’re talking about tonight,” Mr. Briggs told the commission.
“As we have a more detailed plan,” he added, “we plan to hold more meetings with members in our community to say, ‘Here’s what our plans are. Do you have any questions?’”
The questions couldn’t wait, as some residents from around the 14th and Duncan site took the microphone for more than a hour to express their disapproval.
Some said they weren’t sent a notification of the meeting. Others expressed concerns about the feasibility of building a school on the site, with its steep hills and narrow roads.
“I don’t know how you’re going to get a school bus up and down these streets,” said Bill Myers, a resident in the area.
Jamie Hillman, another resident, said the satellite map the city used to illustrate the area was an old one. Planning officials admitted the map was three years old. The photo was taken a little while before Ms. Hillman moved into a new home there.
“If you’re going to cut into my land, I should be informed,” she said.
The Planning Commission approved the district plan to build on the 14th and Duncan site by a vote of four to two, with the two “no” votes coming from Joe Morrey and Kenneth Smothers. Jason Park, Todd Euler, Robert Bucher and Bruce Taylor were the “yes” votes.
Discussion on the Bishop and Cook site went a little over 15 minutes, with no opposition. The commission approved the site, six votes to none.
Reba Herbert, a school district employee serving on the commission, excused herself from both votes.
The district earlier estimated the total cost to build the school at 14th and Duncan streets at $17.9 million, and the school at Bishop and Cook roads at $15.3 million.
The next step is for architects to sit down with district officials and consultants to iron out the details. Meetings will also be planned with residents in those two neighborhoods.
Architects said earlier they hoped to begin construction sometimes next spring. It’s still not determined which school will be built first, or if construction will be simultaneous or staggered.
I have added 105 new photos to the following sections on 08/21/2012
BUSINESSES SOUTH OF FELIX
BUSINESSES NORTH OF FELIX
PARKS & PARKWAY
SOUTH ST JOSEPH
VEHICLES OF THE PAST
SCHOOLS SOUTH OF FELIX
MANUFACTURING & PLANTS
GAS STATIONS A-L
GAS STATIONS M-Z
PLACES TO EAT
Former Ground Round demolished
Posted: Monday, August 20, 2012 12:35 pm | Updated: 7:28 pm, Mon Aug 20, 2012.
By Jennifer Hall St. Joseph News-Press |3 comments
It was a sad sight for many on the corner of Frederick Boulevard and Belt Highway. Crews began demolishing the former Ground Round building Monday morning.
“The building may be gone but the business is still alive and well,” said Christine Bollock, a patron. “When I saw they were tearing it down today I had to come and take one last picture.”
There won’t be another restaurant replacing the Ground Round. According to Clint Thompson, director of planning and community development with the city, there will be one building with three retail tenants.
Ground Round announced in May that it would be leaving its spot near the East Hills Shopping Center and reopening in St. Joseph’s Downtown.
Ground Round’s owner, Marcia Hayes, previously told the News-Press that she signed her termination agreement with mall officials on May 4 and then signed her new lease papers with MidCity Partnership, which owns the building at 123 S. Sixth St.
Ground Round’s lease with the mall was good until 2018, but MD Management, the mall’s management company, let the restaurant owner out of the agreement.
The mall has not released any details on future plans for the site.
Posted: Thursday, August 16, 2012 5:06 pm | Updated: 10:08 pm, Thu Aug 16, 2012.
St. Joseph News-Press | 0 comments
Dollar General is planning to build a new store in St. Joseph.
Plans are to construct a building for $432,000 at 3417 S. 22nd St. There is a store nearby, at 3500 S. 22nd St., but according to a company spokeswoman, that location will close when the new store opens for business.
Ms. Weiss said there is no tentative date set for construction to begin, or a target opening date
Posted: Saturday, August 11, 2012 11:55 pm | Updated: 7:23 pm, Sat Aug 11, 2012.
By Jennifer Hall St. Joseph News-Press |0 comments
While on a black bear hunt in Canada, Bruce Schmitter and Jeff Leonard discussed opening their own outdoors store. Mr. Leonard said the idea took seed but didn’t do anything with it for a year.
Now, J&B Outdoors has opened for business.
“We were both at a place in our lives where we had a little more time on our hands,” Mr. Leonard said.
The building at 2722 S. Leonard Road had been vacant for years but was once home to a grocery store as well as Victory Motorcycle.
Being hunters and anglers, the duo wanted to stick with the traditional outdoors but wanted the store to be like an archery shop.
“It’s just a hometown place to get all your supplies for the outdoors,” Mr. Schmitter said. “We have an abundance of wildlife and an abundance of places to hunt and fish in the area. So we thought there was a need for a store that caters to all of those.”
There are peak periods for every sport, so J&B tries to offer items for all types of outdoors activities.
“Everybody we’ve talked to is thrilled (we’re open),” Mr. Leonard said. “We want to bring back that place to hang out. That old-style community spirit where hunters can gather and swap stories.”
There also will be fishing and shooting contests.
J&B also acquired Vic’s Archery, not only the inventory but also Vickey Marler, a world champion archer with more than 23 years of experience, can be found in the new store.
Two decades ago, when she first got started, Ms. Marler chose the name of her business wisely. Vic was conveniently short for Vickey.
“I’d have men come in and look at me and ask for ‘Vic,’” she said.
The world-class archer never corrected them, she simply asked them how she could help, took their bow and showed them what she knew. It wasn’t long until hunters all over the area came to love and respect “Vic.”
“Even today, men will come in and look at my husband and call him Vic,” she said.
Ms. Marler is now a part of J&B Outdoors as a consultant. Vic’s Archery closed its doors at 802 S. Sixth St. a few weeks ago. Her husband, Wayne Marler, is also working at the store.
In addition to Ms. Marler, Mr. Schmitter and Mr. Leonard integrated her DART Archery Video Simulator into the building and a standard 20-yard archery range.
The simulator is much like a movie theater. The lights are dimmed, users can pick from a variety of hunts and the in-stereo sounds imitate life.
“They can actually put themselves in a hunting scenario,” he said.
The store offers about 4,000 square feet of retail space and within the next few days should be up to 100 percent stocked with all hunting goods.
The store is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays and noon to 5 p.m. on Sundays.
There is a lot of expertise on staff at J&B. Brett Nelson, a Mathews Pro Staff Shooter, is the full-time archery pro alongside military veteran Curt Ellis, the on-site firearms specialist. The store has long guns, hand guns and accessories as well as gunsmith.
There are also services like live bait and permit sales. For more information, call 273-0036.
Mr. Leonard is an outdoor columnist for the News-Press.