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Exterior demolition work begins at site of new Saints ballpark

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St. Paul city leaders, including Mayor Chris Coleman, held a special ceremony on July 13 to mark the start of the exterior demolition of the Gillette/Diamond Products plant, which sits on the future site of the new St. Paul Saints ballpark. Interior demolition work began in late June, according to the Lowertown Ballpark.

The ceremony was held one day after the St. Paul Saints agreed to chip in an additional $1 million toward construction of the 7,000-seat regional ballpark in St. Paul's Lowertown, according to the Pioneer Press.

The newspaper reports that the team will now be providing $11 million toward the new ballpark, but the project still faces a budget gap of several million dollars.

Reports began to emerge last month that environmental remediation on the site was $8.8 million more than expected, and it remains unclear how that would affect the project’s $54 million price tag.

With so many questions still swirling around the cost of the ballpark, the PiPress reports that some question if the plant's demolition, which gets underway in full force next week, is premature. Tearing down the three-story, 600,000-square-foot building across from the St. Paul Farmers' Market is expected to take four months.

At least eight environmental studies have taken place on the old Gillette/Diamond Products site since 2000, according to the PiPress, and the depth of the bad dirt in areas stretches at least 20 feet underground, instead of the previously estimated 8 feet.

Opening Day at the ballpark is scheduled for June 2015.

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