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Minnesota legislators pass on Wade Stadium renovation funding

Renovation funding for Wade Stadium, the historic home of the Duluth Huskies (summer collegiate; Northwoods League), is on life support after being left off a State Senate bonding list.

The DFL-controlled Minnesota State Senate put forward a $1.2-billion bonding plan yesterday. Huskies management and Duluth officials had hoped $4.42 million in spending on Wade Stadium improvements would be included in the plan. It was a long shot, to be sure; Gov. Mark Dayton had not included Wade Stadium spending on his original bonding request, and it wasn’t included by the state House, either.

Still, Duluth officials thought they had a shot at landing the money on the Senate side, per the Duluth News-Tribune:

[Mayor Don] Ness said he had felt confident Duluth projects would receive support in the Senate and was taken aback by the bonding bill that passed early Monday morning.

“All of our conversations with Senate leadership leading up to this point had been very positive, so it took us by surprise,” he said.

Sen. Roger Reinert, DFL-Duluth, expressed his disappointment in a statement saying: “I am not thrilled with the current shape of the bonding bill. We had a very reasonable package of small, but important, bonding requests.”

Wade Stadium was funded by the Works Progress Administration and built by the city. While there are several WPA ballparks still around in the likes of Eau Claire (WI), Durham (NC) and Hannibal (MO), Wade Stadium has been a gathering place for Duluthians since it was built and represents the boom times in the city. Some of the proposed improvements were needed — the ballpark is in desperate need of infrastructure improvements, with walls literally falling down — but maybe Duluth taxpayers would be in a better position to fund a new playing field at the Wade.

Image courtesy of city of Duluth.

RELATED STORIES: Wade Stadium renovation funding strikes out; Saints, Huskies ballparks pitched for Minnesota state funds; Duluth: We’ll continue seeking state fund for Wade Stadium renovationsDuluth Huskies unveil renovation plan for Wade Stadium


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