The St. Paul City Council voted Wednesday to ask the State of Minnesota for money for a new Saints ballpark.
While ballpark funding was not directly funded in the bonding bill passed by the Legislature, project leaders are still eligible to apply for funds from the $50 million capital grant program, which is administered by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.
That fund is designed for economic development, and leaders say the $54 million Saints ballpark proposal is eligible because it would clean up the site formerly occupied by Diamond Products near the farmer's market.
Under the plan, the cost of the 7,000-seat park would be split between the Saints, the City of St. Paul, and some state funding. The team would chip in $10 million and the city would chip in $17 million to cover at least half of the construction costs. Those funds would likely come from economic development grant and possibly a land swap with the port authority.
Of the $50 million up for grads under the DEED program, the Saints would only need about $27 million, and the St. Paul Area Chamber of Commerce estimates that the regional ballpark would rank higher than other projects.
"I'm really confident that we'll have a strong application for that bonding money," St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman said at the team's season opener.'
Yet, the project will also be competing with Mankato and Rochester, both are seeking to renovate their convention centers. The southwest light rail is also asking for money.