St. Paul Saints team pushes again for new stadiumby Curtis Gilbert, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — The St. Paul Saints minor league team wants $27 million in state bonding money to build a new ballpark.
Though hardly a sure thing, the proposal has the backing of DFL Gov. Mark Dayton, the City of St. Paul and the Chamber of Commerce.
The team has been trying to get a new ballpark for years, and says the Midway Stadium is dilapidated.
The governor pushed for the project last year, but it didn't make it into the final compromise with the Republican-controlled legislature.
Dayton again included the project in his proposed $775 million bonding bill. But Republicans immediately criticized the bill as too large.
If approved, the $50 million stadium would be built in Lowertown next to the St. Paul Farmer's Market. The team has offered to contribute $10 million toward the project. The city would kick in an additional $13 million.
It's harder to argue for a publicly-financed stadium when state money is tight, said Saints Vice President Tom Whaley.
"Schools, education, hospitals, health care, public safety — those things come first. And no one was going to accuse the Saints of saying baseball's more important than those things," Whaley said.
"But every two years we do make investments in our infrastructure and we do make investments of an economic development nature. And we feel we're worthy of state support."