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St. Paul makes Saints ballpark state-funding priority

Proposed Saints ballpark

Good news for the St. Paul Saints (independent; American Association) in their pursuit of a new ballpark: the city of St. Paul is actually backing up its stated support of the project with a real commitment to seek state funding at the upcoming legislative session.

The Saints braintrust has been pushing a replacement for Midway Stadium for several years now, but have always come up short when lobbying before the Minnesota Legislature. Part of the issue was iffy support from the St. Paul delegation, and part of the issue was a mixed signal from the city in setting priorities: in bonding requests to the Legislature, the city has always listed a Saints ballpark number four or lower in its request. And, to put it bluntly, the Minnesota Legislature just doesn’t fund projects with so low a priority.

This year it’s different: the city is presenting only two requests to the Legislature, and the Saints ballpark is one of them. It’s not a bonding year (traditionally the Legislature bonds in even-year sessions), but incoming Gov. Mark Dayton has signaled openness to a capital-spending bill, and although the Legislature is expected to grapple with a huge deficit, capital spending will certainly be on the agenda thanks to the collapse of the Metrodome roof and the needs of the Minnesota Vikings.

Here’s the proposal: the city would build a 7,500-seat ballpark in downtown St. Paul’s Lowertown area, on the site of a former Gillette warehouse across the street from the Farmer’s Market. It’s a gorgeous site; Lowertown is a trendy area right now and becoming a major hotspot in the Twin Cities. The state would spend $25 million on the facility, with the Saints and city coming up with $20 million more.

Image courtesy of the St. Paul Saints.

RELATED STORIES: First look: Proposed St. Paul Saints ballpark

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