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St. Paul RiverCentre ramp closes after concrete chunk falls, damages car

This past week, city leaders have called for $58 million in state funding to repair the ramp.

The RiverCentre parking ramp in St. Paul is closed after a piece of concrete broke off and damaged a car.

The concrete chunk, measuring 3x2 feet, fell from the ceiling at the downtown ramp on Wednesday evening, hitting a car that was parked below.

The city says it performs monthly safety inspections at the aging ramp, but it will use the temporary closure to carry out a more comprehensive study.

The timing of the incident could not be more coincidental if it tried, because it comes a week after St. Paul leaders pleaded with the Minnesota Legislature to approve funding to rebuild the ramp.

Last week, a coalition of city, business, labor and community leaders submitted letters to the State Capitol urging lawmakers to include $58 million in state bonding for the ramp.

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City engineers say the almost 50-year-old structure will need a complete rebuild by 2020, and given it's the most-used ramp in the city – serving the Xcel Energy Center and the RiverCentre exhibition space – businesses are keen for the rebuild to go ahead.

It wasn't included in the $825 million bonding bill voted on this week in the Legislature, however there remains hope that it could still be included this year after the bill failed to pass the Senate.

Wednesday's incident could potentially change some minds ahead of the Monday legislative session deadline, but it's unlikely considering the rebuild didn't even feature in Gov. Mark Dayton's $1.5 billion bonding plan.

Speaking with the Pioneer Press, Visit St. Paul CEO Terry Mattson confirmed that the falling concrete wasn't an inside job,

“No, it wasn’t fabricated,” he said. "You can’t make that stuff up.”

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