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Clock ticking on new Saints ballpark funding

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St. Paul Saints

With the Minnesota Legislature coming down to the wire on big issues like a $5 billion budget deficit, it's looking increasingly unlikely legislators will be passing a state bonding bill this year -- and that means the St. Paul Saints (independent; American Association) could be waiting another year for new-ballpark funding.

Traditionally, the state bonds in even-numbered years. Under the theory that government spending on brick-and-mortar projects would help the local economy, Gov. Mark Dayton had proposed a bonding bill for this year's legislative session that included $25 million for a new Saints ballpark in downtown St. Paul, replacing Midway Stadium as the team's home.

The Saints have been pushing the ballpark funding as something benefiting the entire state, not just the team. Midway Stadium currently hosts high-school tourneys, games and Minnesota State High School League tournament games, and the sentimental value of these games have been pointed out by Mike Veeck and other Saints officials. It's a smart move: with outstate Republicans in power in both chambers, their support would be key to any bonding.

Now, it appears a bonding bill is highly unlikely this session. Of course, surprises pop up all the time in the final days of any Minnesota legislative session, and this year may be no different as negotiations on a budget continue. It doesn't appear that competition from a potential new University of Minnesota ballpark -- which is still on the drawing board because the school can't raise $7.5 million for the first phase (and losing the lead fundraiser didn't help, either) -- plays a role in the decision.

RELATED STORIES: New funding plan on horizon for Saints ballpark?; Could Ted Mondale help build a new Saints ballpark?; Dayton proposes $20M for new Saints ballpark; St. Paul makes Saints ballpark state-funding priority; First look: Proposed St. Paul Saints ballpark

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