St. Paul finally landed the big one — or most of it.
Gov. Mark Dayton announced Thursday the award of $25 million, $2 million short of what the city wanted, for a $54-million ballpark for the St. Paul Saints.
That was the top prize given out in the statewide competition for $47.5 million in state economic development grants.
For St. Paul it’s an unmitigated victory that City Hall says will bring 400,000 visitors to the area near the Farmers Market known as Lowertown. The city already is moving to widen the sidewalk capacity on 6th Street to accommodate more outdoor seating at restaurants.
The plan is to build a 7,000-seat ballpark to play host to 50 Saints home games and at least twice as many amateur games including high school and American Legion games. The city expects the project to infuse $10 million annually into the economy and create 500 full- and part-time jobs beginning with construction.
Economists and politicians may bicker over the veracity of the numbers, but the city is declaring a major victory. Mayor Chris Coleman was on vacation in Italy and tweeted a photo of himself and his wife, Connie, celebrating her 50th birthday and the ballpark with full glasses of red wine.
The Saints owner Mike Veeck already is talking about possible concerts at the park and flooding the field for winter skating.
The park will sit near the new Central Corridor light-rail line expected to open in 2014. Target Field, where the Minnesota Twins play, sits at the western end of the line.
- Rochelle Olson, Star Tribune
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