ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The Saint Paul Saints know how to bring in crowds to the ballpark. They've been known to pack Midway Stadium and the crowds have almost become a problem for the facility, in a way. "We've put a lot of stress on it over the years. It wasn't built to handle the crowd that we've put through it for 20 years," Saints Exec. V.P. Tom Whaley said.
The Saints are seeking a new $54 million stadium in Lowertown. The city is hoping for $27 million dollars in state bonding money; there is a $47.5 million pool to pull from. The MN Dept. of Employment and Economic Development office extended the deadline for proposals. They'll sort through dozens of plans submitted by communities across the state.
"I have a rabbit's foot, four leaf clover, I've thrown salt over my back, anything you can do for luck I've done," Whaley admitted.
"This is what people gravitate towards," Melvin Tennant, CEO of Minneapolis' Convention and Visitors Center said, standing near Nicollet Mall. Minneapolis is also seeking $20 million plus in bonding money to fix up sidewalks and infrastructure in the area.
"I think this is something that's really important to spur future development in the downtown area," Tennant explained.
The communities of Rochester, Mankato, and St. Cloud are hoping for some of the funds to fix up aging convention centers that were not included in lawmakers' original bonding bill. The Southwest Corridor Light Rail project is expected to submit a proposal. Ramsey County is also expected to seek funding to clean-up the Arden Hills Ammunition Plant.
"The chips are going to fall where they may. We're confident but we're baseball guys so we take nothing for granted," a hopeful Tom Whaley concluded
(Copyright 2012 by KARE. All Rights Reserved.)