Reporting Mike Binkley
ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) – Millions of dollars will be needed to clean up a well-known site in St. Paul because of what’s buried there.
Decades worth of manure and construction debris are in the ground beneath Midway Stadium, where the Saints play.
And when they move to a new downtown ballpark, the St. Paul Port Authority intends to clean up the property for redevelopment – at a cost of $6-8 million.
Before the stadium went up, it was a State Fair dumping site and a construction dump.
“So there’s innumerable tons of construction debris, manure, all sorts of things you don’t want to build buildings on top of,” said Monte Hilleman, vice president of the Port Authority. “So there’s quite a bit of work that needs to be done.”
The open-air stadium may not be affected by the methane gas and other contaminants below ground, but an industrial facility would be.
“The Port Authority’s specialty is to buy land, generally speaking, that no one else wants,” said Port Authority President Louis Jambois.
The agency has pledged to clear it all out — the benzene, mercury, methane and diesel range organics.
It’s a costly project, but in the end the city will have more land available for business.
“Good quality jobs, good pay, good tax base generation for the city of St. Paul,” Jambois said. “Kind of a win, win, win – environmentally as well as economically.”
Jambois said the land might sit empty without the Port Authority’s involvement, but when new businesses build on the cleaned-up site, he expects it to generate $600,000 a year in property tax revenue.
The Port Authority is already advertising to prospective businesses, inside the stadium.
Once they clear out the dump, they expect quite a few suitors to come calling.
“We know this is a very attractive site,” Hilleman said. “It’s right next to Snelling Avenue, great access, great visibility. We’re quite sure there’s going to be a wonderful outcome here after we’re done with our work.”