The St. Paul City Council will ask the state for $25 million for a new downtown St. Paul ballpark — one where the batter will be looking directly into the sun while at the plate.
The St. Paul City Council will ask the Minnesota Legislature for $25 million next year in funding for a new St. Paul Saints (independent; American Association) ballpark in the Lowertown area of downtown St. Paul.
The new 7.500-seat ballpark would feature an unusual design: instead of the basepaths designed along the traditional north-east alignment, this ballpark would open to the west to allow the downtown skyline to be savored from the grandstand. it also puts the batter directly in the evening sun. Saints President Tom Whaley says the surrounding buildings would provide enough shade to make this a non-starter.
This request will be part of the city's $81.5 million request for bonding, which in the Minnesota Legislature traditionally happens on sessions on even-numbered years. We haven't seen the total list of requests, so we don't know how high a priority this is for the city. (Cities must rank bonding proposals based on city priorities; a low-priority request will sure be lopped from the list early in the session.) We're guessing it may need to be heard a few years before approval: with this year's legislative session ending in a stalemate likely headed for court, it will be hard for any bonding proposal to make it through the Legislature next session, especially with most of the bonding attention being paid to the Minnesota Vikings' proposal for a new stadium. But to the Saints' credit they say they're not in a huge hurry to have this bonding request addressed, so it could be 2014 before we see a new facility. Still, given the many false starts in recent years for Saints ballpark proposals, we think this has the best chance at passage, what with the support of the City Council and Mayor Chris Coleman.
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