The city of St. Paul is on the verge of buying the land for a new St. Paul Saints (independent; American Association) ballpark in Lowertown, removing one big roadblock to obtaining state funding.
The Saints and the city have proposed a $54-million, 7,000-seat ballpark in downtown St. Paul at the Diamond Products site, off Broadway Street across from the Farmers' Market. It's a pretty spiffy site, close to mass transit and freeway access. Right now funding for the facility is up in the air: Gov. Mark Dayton included $27 million for the ballpark in his state bonding request; House Republicans have countered with $2 million in planning money, which bodes well for full funding during the next round of bonding, probably in 2014. If funded by the Legislature this session, we could see a new Saints ballpark by 2014; if not, the opening could be delayed until 2016.
One issue, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press, has been that the city doesn't actually own the land for the ballpark. That should change in coming days, as there's a tentative deal to buy the land for $2.4 million. While that alone probably won't sway Republicans to suddenly support the project en masse, it should be a nice little talking point for Dayton's office as the two sides negotiate a final bonding bill. Undoubtedly the final bonding bill will come in somewhere between the $280 million proposed by Republicans and the $775 million proposed by Dayton -- which means there should be optimism for a 2014 opening.
Rendering courtesy of the St. Paul Saints.
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