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St. Paul to celebrate new ballpark funding with two events

St. Paul officials have been trying for years to get the Legislature to spring for a new St. Paul Saints stadium, so Thursday's announcement that they're getting $25 million is cause for celebration.

Twice.

At 2 p.m. this afternoon, just three hours after the governor's announcement, they'll have a media event at the stadium site in Lowertown, outside the old Gillette building.

Attending will be:

  • Deputy Mayor Paul Williams
  • Parks and Recreation Director Mike Hahm
  • Matt Kramer, St. Paul Area Chamber of Commerce president
  • Louis Jambois, St. Paul Port Authority
  • Annie Huidekoper, St. Paul Saints
  • Ward 2 City Council Member Dave Thune
  • State Sen.r Sandy Pappas
  • State Rep. Tim Mahoney

Missing is Mayor Chris Coleman, who's in Italy this week vacationing with his wife.

Through the miracle of international communications, and some pre-planning, he was able to issue this statement about the state bonding money:

"After years of dedication and advocacy, we are about to bring baseball into downtown Saint Paul. This is a huge day for the City of Saint Paul and our state. I want to thank Governor Dayton for his support and DEED for recognizing the value of this ballpark. Both our legislative delegation and the Saint Paul business community saw the big picture and understood the potential of this project. Finally, I have an enormous amount of appreciation for all the Saint Paul city employees who worked for years to make this project happen.

"The ballpark will bring hundreds of thousands of people to downtown, will create hundreds of new, well-paying jobs, and its construction will represent our community and our values. This is a defining moment for our city."

But he'll be back in time for the city's second stadium celebratory event on Sept. 22.

At noon that day in Mears Park, near the stadium site, Coleman will officiate as the Saints baseball club provides free popcorn and conducts a wiffle ball game.

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