While the Saints’ new ballpark continues to rise in downtown St. Paul, plans for their old home at Midway Stadium got a significant boost Tuesday from the state.
The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) announced $4.16 million in pollution cleanup or investigative grants to 10 redevelopment sites across the state, including $1.25 million to remediate the old ballpark site near Snelling Avenue in St. Paul.
The 12.9-acre site, once a dump, is co-owned by the St. Paul Port Authority and United Properties. They plan to build a light-industrial building where nearly 200 people can be employed. The redevelopment is expected to increase the tax base by $814,331.
The Port Authority and other grant sources will match the cleanup costs, according to a DEED news release.
The Port Authority acquired the Midway Stadium site in 2012 in a land swap with the city of St. Paul, which didn’t have the needed funds to buy the Lowertown site for the new ballpark. The Port Authority bought the downtown site for $1.85 million, then gave it to the city in exchange for the Midway site.
Another St. Paul developer also received $200,000 to clean up pollution at a site along W. 7th Street near the Xcel Energy Center, where a new hotel, housing and street-level commercial space are planned. The redevelopment is expected to add 50 jobs and increase the tax base by $818,317.
Other sites receiving cleanup grants Tuesday, along with plans for redevelopment: Howe Fertilizer, Brooklyn Center, dock facility, $610,000; 602 Residences, Minneapolis, condos and underground parking, $292,000; New Horizon Academy, Minneapolis, daycare center, $243,000; Brad’s Auto Salvage, Blue Earth County, shop and office building, $233,000; Washington and Chicago redevelopment, Minneapolis, apartment building with commercial space, $227,000; city of Mankato, children’s museum, $98,000; and Garceau Hardware, Vadnais Heights, senior housing complex, $18,000.
The St. Paul City Council on Wednesday will sign off on the city’s legislative wish list for 2015, a series of funding requests, projects and statutory changes that council members and Mayor Chris Coleman are making a priority in the New Year.
At the top of the list: restoration of local government aid to 2003 levels, more state funding for transportation infrastructure and transit, and five top capital projects for which the city will seek state bonding (although 2015 isn’t necessarily a bonding year at the State Capitol).
Those projects and the amount requested, in order of priority, are reconstruction of the Kellogg Boulevard-3rd Street bridge ($40 million); an environmental learning center at Crosby Farm Regional Park ($19.5 million); renovation of the Como Zoo’s seals and sea lions exhibit ($14.5 million); a regional public safety facility and indoor firing range ($6.5 million); and a cultural center at the Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary ($3 million).
Coleman said Wednesday that the city also hopes to get authorization for multiple tax-increment financing districts to aid development at the Ford site in Highland Park.
The legislative agenda includes a number of issues on which the city wishes to express its views. For instance, St. Paul opposes state-sanctioned tax levy limits, wants construction materials exempted from sales taxes, and supports more funding to help communities slow the progress of the emerald ash borer.
The city’s lobbying efforts are led by J.D. Burton, who has been St. Paul’s government relations director for a couple years.
“It’s a fairly wide-ranging package of things that we’ll be presenting to the Legislature,” Coleman said. “It’s consistent with what most cities and communities across the state are going to be asking.”
Gary Bettman, commissioner of the National Hockey League, will be at Xcel Energy Center on Thursday morning to announce that the Minnesota Wild’s home arena, along with the rest of the RiverCentre complex, is high on sustainability.
The downtown St. Paul entertainment complex, which includes the convention center and Roy Wilkins Auditorium, this year won three of the biggest prizes in the green world: certification from LEED, Green Globes and APEX/ASTM, all organizations that make independent judgments on environmentally-sound construction and operations.
Kathy Ross of the Wild, which manages RiverCentre for the city, said that getting all three certifications is a first for a complex of this sort. And most such honors of this sort go to newly-built structures, not buildings that went up years ago.
Officials say that RiverCentre and Xcel Center recycle 60 percent of its waste, use solar energy and wind power to reduce carbon by more than half, save thousands of gallons of water with faucet aerators, and buy office products and cleaning materials that are environmentally preferable.
Joining Bettman at an 11 a.m. news conference at Xcel will be Mayor Chris Coleman, Wild owner Craig Leopold and RiverCentre general manager Jim Ibister.
Have you ever looked at your dog, really looked at your dog, and wondered: "What is he thinking, right now?"
Well, the St. Paul Public Library is here to help.
Through "Life with Fido," the library has held a handful of courses to help dog owners unlock the mysteriies of their pets... or at least do a better job of living with them.
On Wednesday, Dec. 3 from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., St. Paul's Sun Ray Library will hold a class on Dog Body Language.
"Learn how to read your dog's subtle signals and spot trouble BEFORE it happens. Know how to stay safe, predict and prevent a bite and recognize when a dog might need some help or support," says the information about the class. Kate Anders, a behavior consultant and dog trainer, will be the presenter.
Previous classes were The Family Dog, a crash course on living and working with kids and dogs that was offered at the Hamline Midway Library on Nov. 15, and How to be a Savvy Dog Owner, which was held Dec. 1 at the Highland Park Library. The class was for people thinking about buying their first puppy, as well as for more experienced dog owners.
For more information about Life with Fido at the public libraries, go to http://www.sppl.org/fido