New views of where fans will root-root-root for the Saints team

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The only thing that was minor league about the introduction of the design of the new ballpark in St. Paul's Lowertown was the mention of the team that will play there.

The Pioneer Press reported that St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman joined representatives of the team and the design-build contractor the Ryan Cos. on Thursday to show off three renderings of the regional ballpark. The story said the future home of the St. Paul Saints will afford fans "...a nearly unobstructed view of Dayton's Bluff and the East Side" from the new, 7,000 seat open-air park, while bringing green space to downtown. MPR News explained that because the park's home plate is oriented to keep the sun out of the batter’s eyes, only spectators seated in the outfield will get great views of the downtown skyline.

The Star Tribune added that construction begins next year with completion expected in time for the Saints season in the spring of 2015.

But the newspaper reported the contemporary design has been criticized by preservationists. The ballpark will be constructed next to but not in the official Lowertown Historic District. Coleman compared the park to the Ordway Center for the way it complements rather than overshadows adjacent older structures.

In an email to City Council Member Dave Thune quoted by the Pioneer Press, downtown resident James Bury said he'd prefer a less contemporary design. "The outside needs to look like Lowertown -- red stone, brick, arched window / door openings, early 1900s look and feel," he wrote. A presentation of the design will be made before the city's Historic Preservation Commission.

The final wall of the Gillette / Diamond Products shampoo factory will be demolished this week.

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