The big event will be on the other side of the Mississippi River, but St. Paul is preparing for a slice of the tourism action — and administrative burden — when the 2018 Super Bowl comes to Minneapolis.
With less than six months until showtime, St. Paul has a large and expanding list of activities planned around the first week in February.
There will be an ice palace at the State Capitol, a giant slide at CHS Field, a block party on West 7th Street and a Red Bull extreme sport demonstration in Lowertown, Assistant Police Chief Kathy Wuorinen told the St. Paul City Council on Wednesday as she ticked off some of the activities the police department would help manage.
The Super Bowl is expected to bring $400 million of new spending in Minnesota, according to the local Super Bowl Host Committee.
The direct economic benefit to St. Paul remains to be seen. But members of Mayor Chris Coleman’s staff said they are trying to ensure they bring both the excitement and a financial boon to all corners of the city.
“We’re just trying to make sure something is happening and we don’t miss the moment,” said Liz Xiong, the mayor’s marketing and outreach manager.
The latest addition to that effort is the plan for a “Bold North Night Market” similar to the annual Little Mekong Night Market in St. Paul. The details and location of that event are still being ironed out, Coleman’s Chief of Staff Dana Bailey said, but it will feature a variety of vendors from across the city and will be held outdoors.
“We really want to celebrate winter in St. Paul,” Bailey said. “People just need to put their ski caps and their warm winter clothes on.”
Rosanne Bump, with the St. Paul Winter Carnival, told the City Council with confidence that an ice palace is coming to the Capitol grounds. Carnival organizers previously estimated the castle would cost $2 million to $15 million to build. Bump said they are trying to secure corporate sponsorship.
“We’ve been working very diligently for a long time to secure a site that is really going to showcase St. Paul, and I think we’ve done it,” Bump said. The castle will be built on a 12-acre site and will take about 30 days to construct, she said. It will be open from Jan. 25 to Feb. 10.
Council Member Dai Thao suggested the city create an interactive map that people can download to help them navigate the various activities. Xiong said the mayor’s office staff will look into that idea.
Along with coordinating the variety of St. Paul-based events, city staff members are also trying to ensure people’s safety during the Super Bowl.
One hundred St. Paul police officers will partner with Minneapolis during the Super Bowl and will handle everything from sex trafficking investigations to counterfeit merchandise cases, Wuorinen said.
The department is just one of 68 local and federal agencies helping Minneapolis pull off the event, she said.
The nonprofit Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee agreed to pay Minneapolis for nearly $4.9 million in city services needed during the event, the majority of which will cover police costs. Minneapolis plans to use part of the host committee funds to reimburse other agencies, like St. Paul police, that help with security.