Traveler’s Hostel and Visitor Center in the Former Ramsey County Jail

by Chris Soutter | Apr 01, 2013
| 3 Comments

Summary:

An influx of people spending time in St. Paul would contribute to St. Paul becoming a vibrant city and would be an economic boost for local business.
• The St. Paul Jail Hostel in downtown St. Paul would provide an affordable option for seniors, families and other travelers to explore St. Paul’s cultural and natural resources.
• Associated with the hostel would be the St. Paul Visitor Center that, along with its website, would highlight the cultural and natural history of St. Paul, and also its local small businesses. It could also provide exhibit space for local artists.
• The bluff plaza across from City Hall would be re-designed as a RainWorks demonstration garden to illustrate stormwater management practices. These features might include rain barrels, a green roof, and rainwater planters.
The former Ramsey County jail has been empty for about a decade. Other options for the site have involved demolition of the current building, which has proven too expensive to move the project forward. This project would reuse the building in a novel, sustainable way. The grant funds would be used for planning and to help leverage investment to redevelop the jail into a green facility.

The former Ramsey County Jail is a stunning site for a hostel for travelers, a St. Paul Visitor Center, and RainWorks demonstration site. They would not only be a new addition and economic catalyst to St. Paul, but would solve the problem of how to re-develop a unique public building that has sat vacant for a decade.

About You

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About You

First Name

Chris

Last Name

Soutter

City

St Paul

County

Ramsey

Country

United States, MN

Website (if you have one)

Names of others who helped contribute to my idea

Karen Reid, Neighborhood Development Alliance

How did you hear about the Forever Saint Paul Challenge?

Newspaper Article

About Your Organization (if applicable)

Organization Name (if applicable)

Organization Website

Organization Phone

Organization Address

City

Organization Country

United States

Your idea

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Title of your idea

Traveler’s Hostel and Visitor Center in the Former Ramsey County Jail

Give us the highlights of your idea for making Saint Paul great (2,000 characters maximum or approx. 250 words)

An influx of people spending time in St. Paul would contribute to St. Paul becoming a vibrant city and would be an economic boost for local business.
• The St. Paul Jail Hostel in downtown St. Paul would provide an affordable option for seniors, families and other travelers to explore St. Paul’s cultural and natural resources.
• Associated with the hostel would be the St. Paul Visitor Center that, along with its website, would highlight the cultural and natural history of St. Paul, and also its local small businesses. It could also provide exhibit space for local artists.
• The bluff plaza across from City Hall would be re-designed as a RainWorks demonstration garden to illustrate stormwater management practices. These features might include rain barrels, a green roof, and rainwater planters.
The former Ramsey County jail has been empty for about a decade. Other options for the site have involved demolition of the current building, which has proven too expensive to move the project forward. This project would reuse the building in a novel, sustainable way. The grant funds would be used for planning and to help leverage investment to redevelop the jail into a green facility.
The former Ramsey County Jail is a stunning site for a hostel for travelers, a St. Paul Visitor Center, and RainWorks demonstration site. They would not only be a new addition and economic catalyst to St. Paul, but would solve the problem of how to re-develop a unique public building that has sat vacant for a decade.

Website address (if applicable)

Innovation

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What makes your idea different or unexpected? (4000 characters maximum or approx. 500 words)

The former Ramsey County jail, being in a highly visible place in the heart of downtown, would be an ideal location for a:
• Hostel designed to attract travelers on modest incomes. The only hostel in the Twin Cities region is a small youth hostel in Minneapolis.
• Visitor Center that would orient visitors to the public transportation system, cultural and natural resources, and local small businesses. St. Paul does not have a visitor center.
• Sustainable Practices Park would be the goal of the re-designed river bluff plaza. The plaza would be a public place exhibiting, with educational signage, best management practices for stormwater management that people can apply on their own properties. St. Paul has nothing like this downtown.

Impact

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This Entry is about (Issues)

How will your idea make a difference in Saint Paul? (4000 characters maximum or approx. 500 words)

St. Paul’s strength is its historic preservation, museums, interesting restaurants, Mississippi River…much to attract travelers. A hostel and visitor center would:
• Bring new people into downtown, contributing to a safer and more exciting city and a boost to local institutions and businesses.
• Provide visitors and people living in the Twin Cities with information on St. Paul’s cultural and natural attractions and its local businesses.
• Be a viable redevelopment option for a unique public building that has not attracted re-development.
• Be a very visible site to encourage people to apply sustainable practices on their own properties.
• Develop a reputation for St. Paul as a leader in in sustainable practices and in educational travel.

Sustainability

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Why do you think people will recognize or remember your idea after it comes to life? How might it inspire others to do something similar in their community? (4000 characters maximum or approx. 500 words)

The St. Paul Jail Hostel/Visitor Center/RainWorks Project would be a high-profile addition to the Metro area. It would:
• Redevelop a vacant public downtown building into a self-sustaining business.
• Invigorate economic activity in St. Paul, helping to sustain local institutions and businesses.
• Educate travelers as well as local folks about rainwater management and sustainable practices.
And, spending a night in the St. Paul Jail Hostel would be a memorable experience.

llhjl hlhj said: Being a traveler it is better that you should certain things a pretty early to avoid problems. - Kris Krohn Strongbrook about this Competition Entry. - 2532 days ago read more >
Nellie Gilbert said: Haha it's awkward. Better checked-in in some hostels in penang or in other places rather than staying that place. LOL about this Competition Entry. - 2738 days ago read more >
Scott Schuck said: The 'funkiness' of spending the night in jail should garner great interest. It's also a great location with a great view lying unused. ... about this Competition Entry. - 2852 days ago read more >

Chris Soutter updated this Competition Entry. - 2853 days ago

Chris Soutter updated this Competition Entry. - 2855 days ago

Chris Soutter submitted this idea. - 2855 days ago