Contamination at Saints new ballpark site worse than thought

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The site of the new St. Paul Saints baseball stadium in St. Paul's Lowertown neighborhood is more polluted than first expected, the Pioneer Press reports.

The property was used to process coal before the now vacant Gillette/Diamond Products warehouse was constructed. Soil tests show environmental cleanup could cost $8.8 million, several million more than expected, and it's unclear how that would affect the project's $54 million price tag.

City leaders knew that the land was contaminated, but they were reportedly surprised by the amount of polluted soil.

"We're still trying to get our arms around what it means for the total project budget," project manager Paul Johnson told the newspaper. "It's certainly going to add to the budget we had for cleanup. The cleanup costs are going to be more."

Officials are also concerned about a sanitary sewer line that runs down the future location of the playing field.

Meanwhile, the former warehouse is set to be demolished late next month. The Saints are slated to throw out their first pitch at the new 7,000-seat ballpark in spring of 2015.

Meanwhile, acres of horse manure buried under St. Paul's Midway Stadium -- the current home of the Saints -- will likely add millions of dollars to the redevelopment costs.

The land was used as a dumping ground from the state fairgrounds for decades before the ballpark was built in the early 1980s.

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