Reporting Rachel Slavik
ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — The St. Paul City Council is moving forward with plans for a new ballpark for the St. Paul Saints.
The council said Wednesday it feels that a new ballpark will help their economy and bring in hundreds of jobs to the area. The ballpark would be built in the Lowertown area of St. Paul.
The current site for the proposed ballpark is an empty warehouse. The space would hold about 7,500 fans, and Wednesday the city council gave a unanimous approval for the financing of a new St. Paul Saints stadium.
The total cost of the project is estimated at around $54 million, half of which would have to come from a state grant. The State Legislature approved new economic development funds this year that many cities can apply for.
The St. Paul Saints would kick in $10 million. The stadium would be the team’s new home, but many other youth and amateur sporting events would be held there too. The City of St. Paul would pay $17 million towards the project.
City officials said they think the economic impact to St. Paul is $10 million a year. They think the project will create 500 full and part-time jobs, and draw 400,000 people to the city every year.
“So there’s a lot of pieces that are coming together. We think the regional ballpark is going to be the crowning glory of downtown St. Paul and will really drive economic development in St. Paul for years to come,” said St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman.
Not everyone thinks Wednesday’s approval by the St. Paul City Council was a good thing. At least one resident, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press, called the move a “travesty” the way the plan was passed so quickly, and the public didn’t get enough time to look over the details.
If the state grant comes through in the next couple of months and everything else works out on schedule, the Saints could possibly be playing at the new facility in May of 2014.