ST. PAUL, MN (September 13, 2012) – Baseball fans, the St. Paul Saints, the City of Saint Paul, and businesses from across the region saw years of hard work finally come to fruition as Governor Mark Dayton announced the Lowertown regional ballpark will receive $25 million from the Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED).
Saint Paul Mayor Chris Coleman made the Regional Ballpark his top legislative bonding priority during the 2012 legislative session. This year’s successful push received critical support from the St. Paul delegation and business community in the East Metro, led by the Saint Paul Area Chamber of Commerce.
In addition, a grassroots network comprised of amateur baseball organizations at the youth, adult, high school and college levels, plus legions of loyal Saints fans, made its feelings about the ballpark known to state and local elected officials.
“As the late Harry Caray would say, ‘It could be…it might be…it is!’” said Saints President Mike Veeck. “Having never hit a round-tripper myself…that’s how exciting this is.”
The $25 million from DEED matches a commitment from the City of Saint Paul and from the private sector partner, the St. Paul Saints. The Saints are a member of the American Association of Independent Professional Baseball. The Regional Ballpark will be located on 5th and Broadway, across from the St. Paul Farmers’ Market.
“I’m profoundly grateful to leaders of the city, the chamber of commerce and the amateur groups who labored hard with us to make this day happen,” said Veeck.
The publicly-owned ballpark will continue St. Paul’s tradition as the region’s home for amateur baseball. The Regional Ballpark will also be ADA compliant and provide plenty of restrooms for women, elements sorely lacking at Midway Stadium, the current home. In addition to hosting 50 Saints home games, an additional 130 youth and amateur events will take place at the Regional Ballpark, plus concerts and community events.
“Our Ballpark Fans and Friends made today possible,” said Tom Whaley, Saints’ Executive Vice-President. “These things are miracles when they come together. We’re humbled knowing first-hand the talent, heart and effort of so many people who worked so hard to see this through.”
The Regional Ballpark is expected to create 225 construction jobs as well as another 151 full-time and seasonal jobs. It will also further the vitality of downtown St. Paul by generating $10 million annually in increased economic activity, spurred by an estimated 400,000 visitors each year. In their 20 seasons of existence the Saints have been in the top three in their league in attendance each year and had the 5,000,000th fan walk through the gates on opening day this season.
The Saints have called the Midway area home for 20 seasons beginning in 1993 when the ballpark was called Municipal Stadium. After 1993, the name was changed to Midway Stadium. It currently seats 5,854. The new ballpark will seat approximately 7,000.
“The Regional Ballpark will be a great attraction for the city, region, and state,” said Whaley. “There are exciting, high profile national tournaments which Minnesota’s been unable to attract due to the lack of a right-sized, modern facility, that now will come to our backyard and showcase everything Minnesota has to offer. We’re grateful for the tremendous support of Governor Dayton, the folks at DEED and members of the Minnesota Legislature, particularly the St. Paul delegation, for understanding what this project will mean to our great state. We will not let them down.”
On Saturday, September 22, there will be a Popcorn and Pop Flies community celebration at Mears Park. Community members are invited to enjoy free popcorn from the Saint Paul Saints and hang around for a game of wiffle ball.
Where: Mears Park
When: 12 p.m. – 2 p.m. Saturday, September 22
- Mayor Chris Coleman
- Saint Paul Saints
- Lowertown neighbors