Saints still scrambling for new stadium cash

St. Paul still hopes for a new minor league ballpark, but the city is competing with several multimillion-dollar statewide projects vying for a small pot of grant money.
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St. Paul still hopes for a new minor league ballpark, but the city is competing with several multimillion-dollar statewide projects vying for a small pot of grant money.

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Pitch for new Saints stadium gets warm reception at Capitol hearing

St. Paul's mayor and other advocates for a minor league ballpark on the edge of downtown got through to a committee chairman at the Capitol. They had Rep. Larry Howes reminiscing about his own ballplaying days and contrasting this stadium effort with the one the Vikings are pushing.

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The ink is barely dry on state bonding legislation that created new economic development grants, but St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman is already chasing more than half the money to pay for part of a proposed downtown ballpark for the St. Paul Saints. Coleman said the minor league park is "shovel-ready" and, if funded, could open in time for the 2014 season.

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Gov. Mark Dayton on Thursday announced that the St. Paul Saints would get $25 million for a $54 million stadium downtown to replace the aging Midway Stadium. The project was the biggest recipient of money from a pot of $47.5 million in state economic development grants.

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The Taxpayers League of Minnesota is suing to stop construction of the new St. Paul Saints stadium in Lowertown. In its suit filed Friday in Ramsey County District Court, the taxpayer league claims the city of St. Paul violated competitive bidding laws when it awarded the design-build contract for the new stadium to Ryan Cos.

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The St. Paul Saints believe a new land deal involving the city's Port Authority gets them closer to a new ballpark by the river downtown. The authority has signed a $1.85 million purchase-and-sale agreement for an empty Lowertown warehouse, which it plans to trade for the city's 30-year-old Midway Stadium off Energy Park Drive in an industrial part of the city. The authority wants to rip down Midway and turn the property over to industrial use.