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Delays hold up fundraising
Tom Fisher, dean of the University of Minnesota design college and co-chair of the downtown park committee, said he does not anticipate that the maximum days will ever be used.
“What lawyers think about and put in contracts usually is … the absolute worst case situation,” he said.
Fisher is more concerned with delays — including a lawsuit and ownership disputes — that could hinder the project from being completed when the stadium and Downtown East developments are complete in 2016.
In fact, minutes from a recent park committee meeting state that corporate entities have been hesitant to donate to the project because they do not know how the money will be used.
The city issued $18.8 million in bonds to pay for the park, most of which will be used to acquire land and demolish the Star Tribune building. That debt is slated to be repaid through parking revenues.
Leftover bonding dollars will fund a very basic park. The more complete park, with amenities like a warming hut or playing field, could cost more than $10 million. About $5.6 million is expected to be generated by air rights above a nearby parking ramp and $1 million from the Vikings will aid that project.
Annual operations and maintenance are expected to reach about $419,000 a year, according to estimates generated by the Park Board. How that will be paid is unsettled, though assessments on nearby properties are being mulled as one source.
The Park Board has been reluctant to take on the project, but a district judge wrote this winter that the board — not the city — has authority to run local parks. The Park Board will likely have to formally weigh in about the ownership and management before major decisions can proceed.
Eric Roper • 612-673-1732