A stadium got a big boost in the Twin Cities today, and it's not the one you think. Gov. Mark Dayton proposed a $1 billion bonding bill today, including $20 million in bonds for construction of a baseball stadium -- the local leaders like the word ballpark better -- for the St. Paul Saints minor league baseball team.
The city is tossing $10 million into the idea, and the Saints are adding another $10 million.
It could be another shot in the arm for Lowertown, if it survives the Legislature.
Question: Should it?
Come on Bob, you know that lower level minor league ball (and the American Association is usually rated at High-A to AA as far as the competition level is concerned) is played in ballparks not stadiums. After all if you only have enough seating to accommodate a Timberwolves crowd (7,500 seats) it's not really a stadium is it?
The Timberwolves draw 7500? Looked more like 750 the time I went.
This benefits the community, unlike an actual stadium which immediately turns into a resources drain on game days.
Unlike the Twins/Vikings/Wolves/Wild/Gophers, Saints fans are pretty much right here in the Twin Cities. Unlike the poor schmucks in Hennepin County who are paying way more than their fair share for the Twins ballpark, Ramsey County residents will be the chief beneficiaries.
The facility will also be a great venue for concerts and prep/college baseball games. Who uses the new Twins park when the Twins aren't using it?
Well, I'm not a fan of publicly-financed sports venues, but I definitely like the proposed location much, much more than the current Midway Stadium up in the Energy Park development. I both live and work within about 1.5 miles of Midway Stadium, so I know the area fairly well. It's not easy to walk around there due to rail lines running just north and south, and there aren't many places nearby for people to hang out before and after games.
WalkScore.com's new "Street Smart" score (which tries to do actual distance measurements rather than "as the crow flies" guesses) gives the current stadium a rating of just 10, while the proposed location gets a rating of 92. That's just about as drastic of a change as you can get within the city limits. It'll be just off the end of the Central Corridor light-rail line, and not too far from all of the bus routes serving downtown St. Paul, so people won't have to worry about driving there.
Seems like a pretty good project to me.