State funding for a new St. Paul Saints (independent; American Association) ballpark is still alive, but will be a long shot as the Minnesota Legislature finalizes its bonding plan for the 2012 session.
Gov. Mark Dayton had included $27 million in state money in his initial bonding request to the Legislature, but neither chamber included that level of money in its own bonding bills.
However, in the $496-million bonding bill passed last night, the Saints may have a backdoor into receiving at least some of the money for a new Lowertown ballpark. St. Paul would be eligible to request funding from a $50-million “business development through capital project grant program” administered by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development. There were plenty of other bonding requests unmet by the bill that passed, but the Saints ballpark request may have three advantages. First, the $54-million Saints ballpark proposal also includes cleanup of a brownfield site: the former Diamond Products site, off Broadway Street across from the Farmers’ Market. Second, the state wouldn’t be fully funding the 7,000-seat ballpark: the Saints and the city would be funding at least half of the construction and remediation costs, so there’s a definite economic-impact argument. Third, it was Gov. Dayton who originally requested the money — and the decision on funding would come from a department controlled by the executive branch.
RELATED STORIES: 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
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