Q. Why don’t they just rehab Midway Stadium?
A. The City of St. Paul performed an analysis and determined that it would be more cost-effective to build a new ballpark than to renovate and bring Midway up to code. This is due to several key factors: Midway is built on a landfill which has resulted in hills and valleys in the outfield, Midway is not compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, and even if Midway were to be renovated, it would still not be accessible via mass transit. Further, there are few in the area that benefit from the 300,000+ fans each year Midway Stadium draws.
While Midway Stadium has been a great home to the Saints and the community for many years, the time has come to build a safe community ballpark that is accessible to everyone and leverages additional spending from fans that the ballpark draws.
Q. Isn’t this really just a new stadium for the Saints?
A. While the regional ballpark would be the new home to the St. Paul Saints, it will also host many other baseball and non-baseball events throughout the year. The ballpark would be owned by the City of St. Paul, and operated by the Saints. There are more than 160 events held at Midway every year, with 50-60 of those events being Saints baseball games. The other 100+ events are community events, amateur baseball games and tournaments, and youth baseball events. The regional ballpark would keep this tradition of being a place for community events as well as the Saints.
Q. How much will this project cost?
A. The project is estimated to cost approximately $50 million.
Q. Where is the money coming from?
A. The St. Paul Saints are partnering with the City of St. Paul to put forth about half of the money needed for the project. The other half is being sought from the State of Minnesota, primarily through the State’s bonding authority.
Q. What is bonding money?
A. Bonding money is money that is set aside from taxes by the Legislature to pay for municipal projects such as museums, parks, public spaces, community parks, etc. (This money never goes to housing, teachers’ salaries, police forces, road construction, etc.) Bonding money does not require the State or the City to raise taxes in order to pay for projects.
Q. What’s the timeline for the project/when will it be built?
A. We’re hoping that the Legislature passes legislation to fund the ballpark in the 2012 session, in which case work will start as soon as possible. That’s why we need your help now – so we can show the Legislature that we have community support. The site is polluted and environmental remediation’s will be necessary. We estimate a clean-up and construction schedule of 24 months.
Q. Where will the ballpark be located?
A. The new ballpark would be located in Lowertown St. Paul where the Diamond Products/Gillette building now stands. The building is vacant and would be razed to make space for the ballpark. The ballpark would be accessible via the Central Corridor light-rail line due to be completed in 2014 as well as multiple existing bus lines. To see photos and plans for the ballpark, click here.
Q. Why do you need my contact information?
A. We’ve worked for four years to obtain the funding needed for the regional ballpark. We’re hoping this is our year but in order to have the best chance at success we need to show the Legislature that the community supports the initiative. We need you to speak up and show your support by joining Ballpark Fans and Friends. Membership is free and we only contact you when we have important information about the ballpark initiative to share with you. By joining BFF you can also tell us if you’re willing to volunteer your time, send a letter to your elected officials, or simply spread the word about the ballpark.