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Saints, city make up $8.8M ballpark funding shortfall

New St. Paul Saints ballpark

The St. Paul Saints (independent; American Association) formally increased their contribution to a new Lowertown ballpark by another $1 million and agreed to take over daily maintenance of the facility, helping to close a $8.8-million funding gap.

The gap arose after cleanup costs at the former Gillette/Diamond Products plant — former manufacturing home of Dippity-Do! — proved to be much higher than anticipated due to the poor condition of the fill at the site. This led to a $8.8-million funding gap in the $63-million ballpark project.

The Saints had already agreed to pay another $1 million to the project, making the total commitment over the course of the lease to $11 million, along with a pledge to manage the ballpark and contributing $100,000 annually to a capital-maintenance fund. The city will cover $6 million with a loan, while $2 million more in state money generated by a new Minnesota Vikings stadium bill.

What’s really new (the $1 million pledge came earlier): profit-sharing. From the Pioneer Press:

Among the safeguards for taxpayers, the city would share a percentage of the proceeds if the team were sold within seven years.

The proposal also would allow the city to keep a percentage of the Saints’ annual net revenue from the city-owned ballpark.

City officials said the agreement would mark the first time in Minnesota sports history that a team would share annual revenue and a percentage of potential sale proceeds with government.

Image courtesy City of St. Paul.

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