Mark Phillips, the commissioner of the Department of Employment and Economic Development, doesn’t sound too excited about having to decide which projects get funded from the Legislature’s special bonding pot of money.
The fund — $47.5 million to be doled out to projects that didn’t get funded in the regular bonding bill — has attracted a boatload of attention from cities and counties around the state, with 90 projects having a total of price tag of $288 million vying for a shot.
“Neither the governor nor I were too keen on this, but given the assignment, we’ll do the best we can,” Phillips said Tuesday in a call with reporters.
He’s referring to the Legislature passing the buck to the department, instead of making the final decisions, on funding the projects that might have qualified for the final bonding dollars.
The Legislature did pass a $500 million bonding bill during the session, but rather than making a final call on some of the projects, it created this extra pot of $47.5 million for DEED to hand out.
“This has been legislators’ role [selecting bonding projects] since 1858, so it seems odd all of a sudden to give a relatively small amount to DEED and have us decide,” Phillips said.
He said the decision-making process “has the potential to be frustrating.”
The projects, running alphabetically from Albany’s $740,000 8th Street project to Woodbury’s $.1.5 million sports center expansion.
St. Paul has the biggest request: $27 million for a Saints minor league baseball park. Minneapolis wants $25 million for a Nicollet Mall redesign.
Other big proposals: Mankato, $14.5 million for civic center expansion; Metropolitan Council, $14 million for the SouthWest light rail line; Duluth, $10 million for a parking ramp; St. Cloud, $9.6 million for convention center expansion.
Phillips said that the 90 projects will be scored according to about 10 criteria, including economic development benefits, leverage of funding, regional impact and job creation.
He said he’d also like to see some geographic balance around the state.
Phillips said his staff will review and score the projects, but that the ultimate decision on who gets what will be his.
At least, after he runs it by the governor.
“This being so notorious, I’m sure we’ll run it by the governor and then come up with the recommendation,” Phillips said.
The goal is to announce the decisions before the end of August, or earlier if they can get it done, he said.
While Phillips said he hadn’t read any of the proposals yet, he did reference the St. Paul Saints project several times, citing it as the type of project that would have wide regional appeal and attract further development.
“I assume the Saints ballpark will score high, but I haven’t seen the comparison against other projects,” he said.
And he noted that the Wild arena on the other side of downtown St. Paul led to much development along West 7th Street, and that the Saints ballpark likely would have a similar effect on its side of town, near the Farmers’ Market.
Phillips said he’s gotten many letters and calls of support for individual projects, and that a hockey rink in North Minneapolis has, so far, gotten more letters than anything else.
“But I don’t think that will have an influence on the decision,” he said.
Even with so many projects vying for the limited amount of funding, Phillips said he doesn’t plan to dole out partial funding.
“If we reduce any awards, it would be in consultation with applicants. We will not arbitrarily drop awards if they score high,” he said.
The full list of proposals:
|Albany, City of||8th Street Corridor||$740,500.00|
|Babbitt, City of||Infrastructure Replacement & Street Reconstruction||$882,000.00|
|Becker, County of||Solid Waste Facility & Recycling Program||$1,153,025.00|
|Beltrami, County of||Geriatric Nursing Facility for Veterans||$500,000.00|
|Big Lake, City of||Industrial Park Infrastructure||$5,350,000.00|
|Biwabik, City of||Redevelopment & Parking||$700,000.00|
|Bloomington, City of||Bloomington Central Station Public Improvements||$1,350,000.00|
|Braham, City of||Sewer & Water Infrastructure||$221,000.00|
|Brooten, City of||Industrial Park Infrastructure||$780,500.00|
|Canby, City of||Soil Correction, Utility and Street Improvements||$585,000.00|
|Carver County CDA||Infrastructure for Apartments in Waconia||$2,000,000.00|
|Carver County CDA||Infrastructure for Housing in the City of Carver||$1,302,837.00|
|Chatfield, City of||Redevelop School & Auditorium into Performance/Exhibit Space||$7,096,000.00|
|Chisholm, City of||Infrastructure for Housing & Industrial Park||$1,300,000.00|
|Chisholm-Hibbing Airport Authority||Terminal Enhancement||$2,500,000.00|
|Clara City, City of||Expand Industrial Park||$774,574.00|
|Corcoran, City of||Construct a new Public Works Facility||$750,000.00|
|Corcoran, City of||Water Tower Construction||$1,100,000.00|
|Cosmos, City of||Replacement of Public Library & City Facilities||$600,000.00|
|Cottonwood, City of||Fire Hall/Ambulance Garage||$600,000.00|
|Dakota, County of||Trails & Visitor Centers||$3,000,000.00|
|Deer River, City of||Wastewater Treatment Pond||$731,000.00|
|Detroit Lakes, City of||Renovation of Pavilion & Construction of a Trail||$1,625,000.00|
|Duluth, City of||Public Parking Ramp||$10,000,000.00|
|Duluth, City of||Wade Stadium Repair and Upgrades||$5,800,000.00|
|East Grand Forks, City of||Wastewater Treatment Improvements||$4,500,000.00|
|Edina, City of||Edina Promenade Greenway Expansion||$1,500,000.00|
|Fosston, City of||Second Street South Improvements||$400,000.00|
|Hampton, City of||Downtown Improvement||$450,000.00|
|Hector, City of||Wastewater System Improvements||$1,250,000.00|
|Hibbing, City of||Curling Club Upgrades||$1,190,000.00|
|Hoyt Lakes, City of||Renovate Police, Fire, & Ambulance Services Building||$750,000.00|
|Hutchinson, City of||Small Business Incubator||$850,000.00|
|Iron Range Resources||Giants Ridge Events Center||$4,995,000.00|
|Isle, City of||Malone Island Bridge & Sewer Replacement||$500,000.00|
|Kasson, City of||Incubator Building/Industrial Park||$2,370,500.00|
|Kasson, City of||Wastewater Treatment Improvements||$1,100,000.00|
|Koochiching, County of||Sanitary Sewer Collection System along Rainy Lake||$7,500,000.00|
|Lake City, City of||Expand Public Library||$650,000.00|
|La Prairie, City of||Extending Municipal Infrastructure along La Prairie Ave.||$1,500,000.00|
|Litchfield, City of||Wastewater Infrastructure Improvements||$2,550,000.00|
|Lonsdale, City of||Street & Utilities Improvements for New Business Park||$2,121,800.00|
|Mankato, City of||Renovate & Expand Mankato Civic Center||$14,500,000.00|
|Maple Grove, City of||Rebuild Law Enforcement Training Facility||$473,387.50|
|Maple Plain, City of||Streets, Sewer & Water Line Improvements||$930,500.00|
|Maplewood, City of||East Metro Public Safety Training Center||$1,280,000.00|
|Marshall, City of||Public Safety Training Center Expansion||$2,500,000.00|
|Marshall, City of||Regional Amateur Sports Center||$4,000,000.00|
|Maynard, City of||Public Infrastructure||$535,635.00|
|Metropolitan Council||Southwest Light Rail Transit Line||$14,000,000.00|
|Minneapolis, City of||Redesign Nicollet Mall||$25,000,000.00|
|Minneapolis Park & Rec. Board||Minneapolis Sculpture Garden||$750,000.00|
|Minneapolis Special School District No. 1||Update Athletic Facilities||$2,783,250.00|
|Moorhead, City of||New 115kV Electric Transmission Line||$1,800,000.00|
|Moose Lake, City of||Redevelop Riverside Center||$435,000.00|
|Morton, City of||Gneiss River Valley Development Project||$2,496,000.00|
|Mountain Iron, City of||Infrastructure along proposed County Highway||$300,000.00|
|Mountain Lake, City of||Infrastructure Improvements||$4,127,364.00|
|Oak Park Heights, City of||STH 36 & Osgood Ave. – Redevelopment Area||$1,425,000.00|
|Osseo, City of||Construct Police Building||$750,000.00|
|Park Rapids, City of||Drinking Water Improvements||$1,284,500.00|
|Pelican Rapids, City of||Wastewater Treatment Facility Improvements||$3,190,000.00|
|Perham, City of||Community Center Improvements||$630,960.00|
|Pine Technical College||Business Incubator Construction||$300,000.00|
|Prior Lake, City of||Welcome Avenue Industrial Park Improvements||$1,080,500.00|
|Ramsey, County of||Twin Cities Army Ammunition Plant Site Acquisition & Remediation||$5,900,000.00|
|Red Wing, City of||Levee Road Area and Riverfront Improvements||$1,583,400.00|
|Red Wing, City of||TB Sheldon Theater Renovations||$685,500.00|
|Red Wing, City of||Design & Construct West Fire Station Training Facility||$2,621,500.00|
|Redwood/Renville Regional Solid Waste Bd||Material Recovery Facility||$2,256,050.00|
|Rice, County of||Road Reconstruction for Industrial Park Expansion||$452,500.00|
|Rochester, City of||Mayo Civic Center – Convention Center Addition||$25,000,000.00|
|Rushford-Peterson Schools||New Grade School||$7,500,000.00|
|Sartell, City of||Construct Public Safety Facility||$3,361,849.00|
|Sartell, City of||Street Improvements||$2,200,000.00|
|Sibley Renville Fiber Joint Powers Board||Fiber Optics Installation||$5,071,998.00|
|Silver Bay, City of||Watermain Improvements||$851,403.50|
|St. Cloud, City of||River’s Edge Convention Center Expansion||$9,600,000.00|
|St. Paul, City of||Saint Paul Regional Ballpark||$27,000,000.00|
|Stewartville, City of||Fire Hall Renovation||$550,000.00|
|Thief River Falls, City of||Greenwood Street Underpass & Construction||$1,213,794.00|
|Three Rivers Park District||Cross-Country Trail Improvements in Bloomington||$3,658,228.00|
|Todd, County of||Senior Citizens Healthy Living Center in Long Prairie||$500,000.00|
|Tower, City of||Improvements for Mixed-Use Development||$1,000,000.00|
|Truman, City of||Flood Mitigation-Storm Sewer Improvement||$1,357,500.00|
|Virginia, City of||Infrastructure Development for Industrial Park||$1,500,000.00|
|Wadena, City of||Public Health & Wellness Facility||$4,625,000.00|
|West Saint Paul, City of||Sports Dome Construction||$3,450,000.00|
|Winona, City of||Street Improvements||$4,729,500.00|
|Woodbury||Expand Sports Center||$1,500,000.00|