Dayton Backs New $50M Stadium For … Saints

ST. PAUL (WCCO) — Gov. Mark Dayton unveiled a $775-million package of construction projects Tuesday, calling it a jobs bill that will create almost 22,000 new jobs.

It includes funding for the next leg of light rail in the western suburbs from Minneapolis to Eden Prairie, money for civic center expansions in Rochester, Mankato and St. Cloud and millions of dollars for a new sports facility.

But it’s not the Vikings.

The St. Paul Saints want to move to the front of the line for a ballpark.

The century old team is ready to move out of its tiny home near the Fairgrounds at Midway Stadium, and into new digs, downtown.

For the last 20 years, the St. Paul Saints played in the worn out Midway park with portable toilets and lawnmower sheds for concession stands.

But now the team is making a pitch for a modern ballpark in downtown St. Paul.

“It was built for not a whole lot of money 30 years ago, on a dump, and we’ve used it, frankly, I think more than it was ever intended to be used,” said Tom Whaley, executive vice president of the St. Paul Saints. “We’ve gotten the most we can out of that building but it’s really getting to a point now where the building is not going to be usable any more.”

The Saints have been a Capital City fixture for most of the last 100 years, drawing large crowds and future major leaguers, like Roy Campenalla.

The crowds are still there, but it’s getting harder to accommodate them.

The Saints park costs around $50 million — $27 million from the state, and the rest from the team and the city.

Gov. Dayton is backing the downtown project, in part, because of what he learned from his family’s department stores.

“I learned from my fathers and my uncles, who were pretty successful job creators in Minnesota, the importance of focusing on downtowns and constantly pushing to revitalize them because otherwise you end up with a donut effect,” Dayton said.

If it’s approved, the Minnesota Twins would be on the Minneapolis west end of the light rail line, and the Saints on the St. Paul east end. Each filling a different niche.

“We think its a really good option where you can come out and for 20, 30, 40 bucks, bring your kid to a game, have good seats, have a hot dog, grab a beer,” Whaley said. “And you’re not going to break the bank.”

The governor got a lukewarm reception for much of this construction projects bill, which is called “the bonding bill.”

Republicans who control the House and Senate say the state should only borrow money for infrastructure projects like roads and bridges.

More from Pat Kessler
  • Libs Galore

    Dayton backs anything from any of the special interest groups that voted for him. More than any politician in history, he is paying for the votes he received. Pathetic.

    • look on the bright side

      The good news is that if Dayton keeps chasing all the companies and jobs to ND and WI we’ll be able to get by with much smaller stadiums. That right there should save us a bundle. If the glass is half empty, just get a smaller glass. Problem solved. Everybody wins. Hip hip hooray for the spendaholic.

  • republican

    I hate everything. I am an island. The twin cities is only vibrant because I live here and spend my money. I am a republican. wha wha wha.

  • Kevin

    This is why I work….so Dayton can repay his Union backing…..

    • Balanced Beam

      No subsidies for (Moderately to Extremely) Wealthy Owners of (Independent League) Professional Sports Teams!

  • Redneck Purist

    Is there anything he won’t spend my money on? I can’t believe he keeps proposing more spending on non-essential stuff, when we haven’t even recovered from his shutdown.

  • porkchop

    Dayton’s a buffoon who sold us out to Zygi. The Saints are wonderful but we can’t afford “extras” right now. We need to send Zygi packing and forget the bells and whistles at least until the economy gets better.

    The Saints might do better with fund raisers. I would make a donation to them, they’re great baseball. The Twins and Vikes can rot for all I care.

  • Frankie

    If you are bright enough to look back through the last few years you will find the state has bonded somewhere over 680 million in construction projects. Those were republican and other non democrat governors. 775 million is not out of line as compared to the billion dollar requests that needed vetoes. Unfortunately the populace is following the lead of the politicians and making everything partisan. Libs and Kevin can’t even argue the merits of any of the projects. Instead it is a knee-jerk reaction without the knee. I am sure more stupid comments will follow.

  • Terrace

    Lets see…create new jobs and make life better for people who live in Minnesota. What’s not to like? We need to continually strive to improve MN or we will end up like North Dakota or the other republican “red” states.

    • Jason

      Lets be more like California and Mich the model blue states.

    • sarn

      @ Terrace,

      Create new jobs? You mean create new union jobs only right, about 22,000 new union jobs and when the projects are complete we’re back to square one in that aspect anyways. Taxpayers working for unions only make up a portion of the MN work force. What about the rest of us workers?

      I think I just threw up a little.

    • Libs go home

      North Dakota has one of the most health economies in the country. Lowest unemployment, highest relative wages, highest relative savings rates…how stupid are liberals. North Dakota WORKS!!! Paying union stooges to pose in photos is not putting people back to work.

      • what?!?

        ND population has been pretty much a FLAT line sine 1980 = 646,844
        Minnesota population has been growing rapidly since 1980 = 5,266,214

        We have 4.6 ish million more people here and our state is only roughly 14,000 square miles larger than ND
        So ND economy is healthy – Yeah I would hope so as they should be when you take their per capita into consideration but not as healthy as it should be when you do so – I’m not going to even try to explain how numbers and MATH and SCIENCE really works!

        • RIII

          Unfortunately our growth is a result of our welfare and not because of private sector jobs. Ford and Lockheed are out of here, Hutchinson Technology located its new production facility in Wisconsin and ATK relocated its world office out of state. Dayton has done nothing but waste money we don’t have, the end result will be more companies leaving when the taxes go up to support his stupidity.

        • Don'tTread

          How does geographical size play into this? ND has a vibrant economy and virtually no debt for reasons beyond per capita ratios… the state banking system and recent discovery of natural resources to name a couple.

    • John Frykman

      North Dakota has the healthiest economy in the nation. We could do worse than emulate them. And they don’t even have a major league team or a government furnished stadium. If they want to see a great game, don’t come to Minnesota. We can build sports palaces, but we can’t seem to attract any teams but losers. Year after year.

  • Mark

    I’m going to follow the Government and spend my way out of debt…wonder if it’ll work?

  • John Frykman

    The Guv has been purchased, Now WE get to pay. Who gave this buffoon the idea that governing a state has anything to do with winning a spending contest. Obama already has that one, already!

  • Rachel

    22,000 new jobs?

    No, it’s 22,000 new government dependents.

    We need private sector jobs, not pretend jobs.

    • STP


  • Ruth

    Dayton is just another Obama and is working to make MN sink as low as the U.S. government with out of control spending. Can we impeach both of them?

  • what?!?

    you guys need to go pick up a book and learn something – lets start with macro economics 101 – wait that’s a college level course.. umm finish high school / ged first then come on back

    • Nurse

      If you read in a macro economics 101 book that spending millions you don’t have on sculpture gardens, asian carp, and baseballl parks are a good idea when you can’t pay teachers, policeman, and fireman I think you should get your money back for that book.

      • what!?!

        macro economics 101 is a course made up of several books and consist of several laws and theories such as say’s law or keynes law. You can spend a life time studying it. It is not just a single book you read that will give you all the answers. It requires you to understand and to THINK FOR YOURSELF .. & YOU FAIL!

        • Carlos

          Sorry What!?! but Macro Economics has nothing to do with “Thinking for Yourself” You have obviously never taken an economics course or if you did you were taught by another Libtard prof.

        • Carlos

          @ what!?!
          You have obviously never taken an economics course. Economics and especially Marco Economics has nothing to do with “Thinking for Youself”. I love you math and science quote above. You must think by capitalizing your entire word people will believe the drool coming out of your mouth

        • sarn

          So far your point is that we should read these books. That’s all you’ve stated. What does this have to do with spending $775,000,000.00 that we don’t have just to make the state look prettier and create 22,000 UNION ONLY jobs that’ll be gone when the projects are complete? You can tell us to read those books all you want. Here is an idea, tell us something you learned in those books that relates to this particular issue and try to explain to us why this is a good idea. Can you do that? If not… the only one failing here is you.

        • dan

          You must have the same economics degree as Dayton.

        • dan

          You must have the same economics degree as Dayton. You can buy your way out of Bankruptcy theory is really working isnt it?

        • Balanced Beam

          Keynes is about as valid as Freud. It was a nice dream that spending could result in the desired end of outpacing itself, but it’s been debunked. You might want to pick up Macro 102.

          • huh?

            Not necessarily true. At the government level, no. In the private sector, yes. Now is not a time for austerity, government spending improves an economy as long as it’s a benifit to the private sector and social spending. What the governor is proposing is short term and won’t work.

            • Balanced Beam

              @huh? – Apt name. The Keynes approach is not based on investment for future growth. It is about priming the pump. The limitations on that approach are well established. Growth that has occurred during times of Keynesian investment can be clearly linked to other causal factors. We’d be just as well inflating our way out of the crisis.

              • huh?

                Apt name? Appears you have attitude. But, since that is your attitude, there is no point in attempting a “balanced” debate on the topic since you seem to think your answers are cut and dry. What is the meaning of life? I’ve been waiting for an expert such as yourself…

                • Balanced Beam

                  You answered your own question. That will work.

    • Tim

      you should go pick out a check book and see how far you get writing checks with no money professor.

  • RIII

    Dayton is spending our money like a whore with a stolen credit card taking all the other whores out to a free dinner at an expensive restaurant. I can only hope someone reports it as stolen before the check comes..

  • Dave

    If your that well off build your own stadiums in North Dakota, and quit coming to Minnesota, and polluting ours…

  • mark

    Eden Prairie, here comes the gangs with the LRT, just look at the Mall of America

  • StraycatStrut

    No big comment here that has not already been said…lead on Dayton “all for a Better Minnesota”…… where are we on the Vikes stadium buddy? Mark…… time to wake up from the nap…. come on….. come on… was the Viking stadium issue. Please…someone help him.

  • Mad Dog

    Why would anyone want to build a new stadium for the Saints? They should move to LA. They’re like the Yankees in MLB but can’t win. What a bunch of losers. The last thing we need to spend tax payers money on is a minor league baseball team.

    • mr fudd

      If the Vikings and the Twins played truly entertaining and fun sports like the Saints do, they could have built new over the top stadiums with their pocket change instead of taxpayer dollars.

      As much as I love the Saints, there should be no public money spent on a stadium for them either. And without a doubt, there should be no public money for the Vikings. None. Zip for Zippy as the chant goes.

      • Carla

        I agree, I have only been to one Saints game but it was a great experience. They do a great job of entertaining the crowd and make it an affordable night out.

  • Balanced Beam

    Let’s see if Kessler does a “Reality Check” on Dayton’s claims of the need for this public outlay for private interests. Usually he reserves that piece to make the Republicans look bad. C’mon, Pat. Even Jon Stewart takes a shot at the Left once-in-a-while!

  • huh?

    Who exactly buys these newly issued funny money bonds? Seems our governor couldn’t get his tax increase so he just issues bonds to collect or his proposals. Look, Mr. Dayton, I think we should wait to see if people get to keep their child credit, their tax bracket and other crazy/wild exemptions at the federal level before you go on a spending spree. We are in flux or money pergatory right now. Sit down and wait like the rest of us.

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