City officials are nervous about a $2-million “shortfall” in funding for a new St. Paul Saints (independent; American Association) ballpark, but such hand-wringing is just silly, silly talks from folks inexperienced in building ballparks.
The issue: only $52 million has been allocated by the state, city and the Saints for the ballpark, demolition work on the aite (which includes some brownfield remediation) and other site work. (The original budget for the project was $54 million, but the state allocated only $25 million instead of the requested $27 million. Only $25 million.) Now, $52 million is a lot of money for this sort of thing, to be blunt: these days you don’t see many ballpark projects (especially on the indy level) exceed $50 million outside of Triple-A facilities. (To put it into perspective: the downtown El Paso Triple-A ballpark project will cost less even though it includes the demolition of City Hall, and a comparably sized ballpark in Wilmington, N.C., is currently budgeted at $37 million, including $6 million for the land.)
To put this into perspective: $2 million is 3.7 percent of the total project. Any building project that cannot withstand a 3.7 percent adjustment is monumentally mismanaged.
So don’t let any St. Paul city official tell you there’s not enough money to build this ballpark; there is more than enough, especially for an independent-baseball facilities that doesn’t need to meet N.A. standards. Forget the drama in the St. Paul Pioneer Press headline (Ballpark’s $2 million shortfall will be hard to fill”), with city officials just wringing their hands over the lack of money on what’s already one of the best-funded ballpark projects in years. This is stupid talk. We have no ballpark design yet, no budget for remediation and site prep. (Indeed, it’s looking like the remediation costs will come in right where everyone expected, with no surprises in early testing.) Maybe it’s the lack of ballpark experience from the design/build team — Ryan, AECOM, Julie Snow Architects — or a lack of fiscal responsibility in St. Paul City Hall, but to hear talk that $52 million isn’t enough to build an independent-baseball ballpark where the city already owns the land is very, very silly.
Image courtesy St. Paul Saints.
RELATED STORIES: Design/build team announced for new Saints ballpark; Saints, Huskies ballparks pitched for Minnesota state funds; St. Paul: We’ll request economic-development funds for new Saints ballpark; Affiliated ball in St. Paul? Don’t hold your breath; Duluth: We’ll continue seeking state fund for Wade Stadium renovations; Duluth Huskies unveil renovation plan for Wade Stadium; St. Paul officials confident in scoring state aid for Saints ballpark; Saints ballpark funding alive — but just barely; State aid for Saints ballpark coming down to the wire; Saints ballpark bill suffers setback in state Senate; St. Paul close to acquiring land for new Saints ballpark; Saints ballpark funding passes hurdle; Saints ballpark funding part of state bonding bill
Share your news with the baseball community. Send it to us at email@example.com.
Are you a subscriber to the weekly Ballpark Digest newsletter? You can sign up for a free subscription at the Newsletter Signup Page.