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New funding plan on horizon for Saints ballpark?

Proposed Saints ballpark

A proposed regional sports authority in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area could be empowered to issue bonds and provide funding for a new St. Paul Saints (independent; American Association) ballpark — but approval for such an authority is far from assured.

The authority would be responsible for funding a new Minnesota Vikings stadium and a renovation of Target Center, the home of the Minnesota Timberwolves (NBA), as well as assuming control of the Metrodome. Under the auspices of the Metropolitan Council — a regional governmental unit that coordinates metro-wide projects — the authority could issue 25-year bonds to raise $1.173 billion for the aforementioned sports facilities, as well as wipe out debt on Xcel Center, home of the Minnesota Wild (NHL).

The proposal is in its early stages, so some of the details are fuzzy — like how the bonds would be repaid. Teams would still pay for part of the cost of the facilities (the Saints and the city of St. Paul, for example, have already committed $25 million toward a new ballpark), but other sources of revenue backing the bonds remains a question mark; possibilities include expanded gambling at race tracks, a metro-wide sales tax hike similar to the one used to build the Metrodome, or a new Vikings lottery.

This isn’t exactly new (indeed, we wrote about the possibility of the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission doing this very thing) and it’s not clear there’s much new past the involvement of the Met Council to help back the bonds. There are some solid links, though, between the MSFC and the Met Council: Ted Mondale formerly chaired the Met Councll and is now chair of the MSFC.

Image courtesy of the St. Paul Saints.

RELATED STORIES: 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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