St. Paul has elderly houses and lead based paint

I write some version of this every year. Our housing stock in St. Paul is old. Some folks consider houses built in the 1950’s old, but in St. Paul they are newish. 43% of the houses in St. Paul were built before 1939.

Any house that was built before 1978 could have lead-based paint in it. Since about 80% of the houses in St. Paul were built before 1978 it is safe to assume unless proven otherwise most St. Paul houses have lead-based paint in them.

Lead is harmful to human beings, especially to children and Federal law requires that persons buying or renting a home that was built before 1978 receive a disclosure that states that the home could have lead-based paint in it. Homebuyers can have the paint tested for lead but they almost never do.

Buyers are given a pamphlet about how to protect their families from lead-based paint. 

Washing hands and covering chipped or peeling paint is recommended. Having paint tested before removing it is also recommended.

One of my clients had a child who had an elevated level of lead in his system. Lead was found in the finish on an old built-in buffet in a home built in the late 1930s.

We are in a strong seller’s market and In multiple offer situations, sellers are likely to reject the offer in which the buyer plans to have the paint tested for lead.

Unless the homeowner has test results that prove there is no lead-based paint in the home or the home was built after 1978 please assume that there is lead-based paint and take appropriate precautions.

Epa lead-based paint
From the EPA

Lead From Paint, Dust, and Soil Can Be Dangerous If Not Managed Properly

FACT: Lead exposure can harm young children and babies even before they are born.

FACT: Even children that seem healthy can have high levels of lead in their bodies.

FACT: People can get lead in their bodies by breathing or swallowing lead dust, or by eating soil or paint chips with lead in them.

FACT: People have many options for reducing lead hazards. In most cases, lead-based paint that is in good condition is not a hazard.

FACT: Removing lead-based paint improperly can increase the danger to your family.

Also, consider that if the exterior of a home is or was wood and it has been scraped and painted there could be lead in the soil, and before unleaded gasoline became the norm there was lead in our gas tanks too and some of it ended up in the air and sold. There is more but I think this is enough for now.

Information about lead-based paint testing

Also, get healthy home information from the Minnesota Department of Health. 

Spring heat waves and gardening

Most plants can handle a few 90 degree days but not 9 of them in a row in the spring. The heat is stunting the vegetables in the garden and singeing the leaves on my perennials even those that are somewhat heat resistant.

The rhubarb is wilting and I am not sure I am going to be able to grow cucumbers this year. The young plants and seeds in my straw bale garden got cooked. These plants can handle the heat and some of them grow better because of it but it came too early. The young plants have not developed the root systems that they will need to survive and thrive in 90+ degree heat.

The plants that grow in containers are doing just fine partly because I am able to move them into areas that are at least partly shaded.

It is going to be a tough year for gardening and growing crops too.

heat damaged plants
Heat damaged plants

Construction it’s everywhere

There seems to be a lot of construction going on right now. Apartment buildings are popping up everywhere. Here are some pictures of a project on West 7th street near United Hospitals and just West of Grand.

Northland Real Estate Group and Ackerberg Group are building 153 apartments at 337 West Seventh St. in St. Paul. The building is designed to be affordable and attractive to the nurses and other health care workers at United Hospital and Children’s Minnesota St. Paul Hospital. The project hopes for completion in 2021.

We need all types of housing in St. Paul. There are some Luxury apartments just down the street and some affordable apartments nearby too.


337 West 7th St. Paul, MN
337 West 7th street

There are people downtown

For the last year, downtown St. Paul has been pretty empty. Yesterday I went for a walk in and around Rice Park. The fountain is on for the first time since the fall of 2019 and there are tables and chairs in the park and I saw people. The hot dog stand was there and there were people. To be honest for a time downtown St. Paul was kind of scary, maybe even a little dystopic.

I have to go downtown because that is where Candyland is located and I need Chicago mix popcorn a few times a month. My supply was cut off for a short time at the beginning of the pandemic and I didn’t like it.

There is a new sculpture in front of the Xcel center and on the base, it says “welcome back St. Paul” I don’t think we ever really left we just stayed inside a lot.

Welcome back

Not working from home

In the last few months, rush hour traffic has gone back to the way it was during the before time.  Last year at this time it seems like the streets were lined with cars, now the cars are gone.

I have talked with friends and family who are going back to the office and so far none of them really want to go back. One family member lucked out when his company was purchased by a company that is located out of state. He gets to stay employed and work from home.

There is a lot of traffic in the area in the evenings and on weekends too. People walking, driving, and riding on those little electric scooters.

It is easier for me to plan where I want to live than it is for others. I just need to live in an area where there are houses. I have been working out of a home office for 15 years and can work from almost anywhere if I have internet access.

I have to pay my own health insurance and I don’t get paid during vacations and there is no pay for sick days. That might seem like a bad thing but it is a trade-off. It would be nice to have benefits and freedom but that isn’t a thing.

It will be interesting to see if the pandemic has any kind of long-term impact on where people want to live.  I don’t have any advice on this except to say that buying a house is more of a longer-term commitment than most employers will make. I still live in the house that was close to jobs but I haven’t had any of those jobs for 20 years.

view of downtowns
View of St. Paul and Minneapolis from Indian Mounds Park in St. Paul

You don’t have to move away from barking dogs

Living next door to a barking dog might make you want to move but did you know that there is a city ordinance bout barking dogs?

dog Ordinance

“According to Saint Paul City Ordinance 200.14, it is unlawful for any person to “own, keep, have in possession, or harbor any dog which howls yelps, or barks to the reasonable annoyance of any other person or persons.”

Barking dogs can be very annoying. I can hear them from time to time but none of my neighbors have dogs that bark excessively or that I really even notice. I also hear chickens and sheep sometimes.

If you have a barking dog problem in your neighborhood, you can call the Animal Control Center during normal business hours at 651-266-1100, or the Saint Paul Police non-emergency number at 651-291-1111 if the center is closed.

It is also against the law to let your cat roam free but there are many free-range cats in St. Paul. They help keep the bird population in check. Someone called animal control about cats in our yard but we didn’t own or have any cats at the time.

Violating St. Paul’s animal ordinance can result in tickets and other penalties.