The news came out Wednesday morning. After years of speculation, a use had finally been found for the Ford plant site in Highland Park: the construction of blimps.
It’s the perfect site, the company president said, because between the Legislature and numerous city councils, St. Paul is a year-round reliable source for hot air.
Huh? What is this? Could it be?
Of course. It’s April 1.
The St. Paul Area Chamber of Commerce sent out a press release Wednesday morning announcing that it had been selected as the primary developer for the Ford site. There’s been a good deal of anticipation about plans for the vacant 122-acre parcel, ranging from housing to light industry, so any information about who’s involved or what would be developed there is big news.
This reporter sat down with pen in hand, reading with bated breath as the release went on to say that construction would begin this fall on Flygplats Airship Factory, a “center of excellence” for future blimps.
Then a quote from Chamber president Matt Kramer: “With the Flygplats plan, we are now, for the first time, combining our love of blimps with the raw source of hot air so needed for this burgeoning industry.”
The reporter says, out loud: “They’re gonna build BLIMPS?”
Moments later, a call to Kramer confirmed that it’s all a joke.
“Every good truth contains a little lie, and any good lie contains a little truth,” he said with a laugh.
Closer study of the illustration connected to the press release revealed a Summit beer ad on the side of the blimp – shaped suspiciously like an Easter egg -- hovering over the Ford site.
The press release goes on to say that while most of the Ford site would be used for manufacturing of airships, about a third would be used as a hot air storage facility. It would add 1,038 jobs, including air tour-space guides, and include a charter school to educate future airship designers and politicians.
The chamber, according to the release, is “confident we can make this site a carbon neutral, but hot air positive, sustainable development.”