Proposals for a new St. Paul Saints ballpark and renovations to Wade Stadium, home of the Duluth Huskies, have been submitted to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.
DEED has $47.5 million to spend on capital improvements across the state as a result of the bonding bill passed by the Minnesota Legislature in the 2012 session, and 90 projects were submitted to the state. Two projects involve ballparks.
St. Paul and the St. Paul Saints (independent; American Association) submitted a proposal for $27 million of the $47.5 million pot, to be spent on a new Lowertown ballpark, replacing Midway Stadium. The new ballpark is envisioned as an economic-development plan: the new ballpark would replace an empty manufacturing facility located on a potential brownfield site, and the current Midway Stadium site would be converted to a business park, bringing new jobs to both locales. The city and the Saints have already committed to $27 million of the $54 million project.
In Duluth, the city and the Duluth Huskies (summer collegiate; Northwoods League) are pitching an $8-million renovation of Wade Stadium, a historic ballpark partially funded with WPA money. It’s less an economic-development issue than a historic-preservation issue: while the city has done a pretty decent job of maintaining the ballpark — and the Huskies put some money into the facility as well — it needs much more TLC.
All in all, 90 municipalities requested some $288 million in public money. DEED staff is expected to have recommendations by the end of August, with Gov. Mark Dayton — who has backed both projects in the past — making the final decision.
RELATED STORIES: 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
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