Saints And Sinners

Joe Doakes of Como Park writes in re the St. Paul City Council’s vote to fund a new stadium in downtown for the St. Paul Saints:

City Council approves stadium funding, city resident has questions:

What kind of rinky-dink stadium are we getting for a lousy $50 million when the Twins stadium cost 10 times that much? The Saints already have a rinky-dink stadium in an inaccessible location, do they really need another?

Is a seasonal recreational facility consistent with the City’s vaunted Comprehensive Plan for Downtown Business and Retail district? Shouldn’t a ballpark be in an industrial zone – as the current one is – to allow for parking and tailgating?

Why does the Housing and Redevelopment Authority have $2 million free land sitting around for a ballpark? Why isn’t that in housing? What will the HRA do with the Midway Stadium site and how much will that cost?

What “other projects” is the Council gutting to pay for the stadium? If those projects are such low priority the stadium takes precedence, why were they funded in the first place instead of taxes being lowered?

Is the City borrowing this money on “Revenue Bonds” (if the team fails to pay rent, the bondholders take the hit) or “General Obligation Bonds” (city taxpayers are on the hook for everything)?

In re that last question, the answers are simple, if depressing:  the answer is “whatever will benefit the City Council and its friends, regardless of its affect on the taxpayer of Saint Paul”.

Am I wrong?

5 thoughts on “Saints And Sinners

  1. I’ll take a stab at the zoning question. The idea is to discourage driving and tailgating and to use transit. It doesn’t make sense at this point to build new automobile-oriented developments when transit use is being encouraged and built out. You don’t build light rail lines just to waste the initial investment with automobile-oriented development.

  2. Yes, we’ve got to use bad locations because we can’t have anyone really enjoying the amenity by driving there…’s not like there’s a monstrous parking ramp at the Mall of America, after all.

    My question is really basic; we have been building stadia in this world for about 3000 years, more or less. Given that everyone has known for the past century or so that usage patterns of these facilities will change, why haven’t we gotten better at building stadia so that periodic modifications don’t require the whole darned thing get torn down? This is especially the case for a baseball stadium; are no architects out there familiar with modified structures like “Wrigley Field”?

    OK, I give. It’s all about the power of the city council, not the best interest of anyone else.

  3. You don’t build light rail lines just to waste the initial investment with automobile-oriented development.

    Of course not. Why would the Saints want suburban business anyway? Or maybe the suburban fans could park at Fort Snelling, take the train into downtown Minneapolis, transfer to the Central Corridor and ride it into downtown St. Paul. That would work out great, I’ll bet!

  4. You are starting to remind me of Dagny Taggert, Mitch. It’s time for a general strike. Go West, young man!

  5. That’s a very valid point about Mall of America. MOA is a different kind of development with far more people visiting than you would with the Saints stadium. That said, it’s still a big transit hub. I would happy with a location for the stadium that used light rail as a part of the design, even if it had more parking. Another reason they want to build the stadium there is because of economic development in Lowertown, as well.

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