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Opponents file TRO to halt work on new Saints ballpark

New Saints ballpark

Groups opposing a no-bid design/build contract have now filed for a temporary restraining order (TRO), asking that all work be stopped on a new downtown St. Paul Saints (independent; American Association) ballpark.

Last week the Taxpayers League and a local conservative activist announced plans to challenge the decision by St. Paul officials to award a no-bid contract to Ryan Companies, AECOM and Julie Snow Architects on the $54-million project. They argue state law requires a competitive bidding process (the project is receiving $25 million in state aid), and that other similar projects — Target Field, a new Vikings stadium, TCF Bank Stadium — went through a competitive bid process.

To drive home the point, the opponents (who, by the way, are not opposing the actual ballpark construction — just the bidding process) filed yesterday for a temporary restraining order, to immediately halt work on the ballpark until this issue is resolved, according to Finance and Commerce. A Ramsey County district court judge is expected to hear the case this week.

It’s not unusual for a company like Ryan to actually receive the contract after a bidding process; the firm helped the city and the Saints with free planning before the financing plan was finalized. What a public bidding process does is make sure there aren’t equally qualified vendors out there willing to do the job for less money, which would be a plus for Minnesota and St. Paul taxpayers.

Image courtesy St. Paul Saints.

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