St. Paul’s biggest push at the Legislature this year is to get funding for a Saints baseball ballpark to be built in the Lowertown district.
The goal is to get $27 million in state funds to help pay for the $50 million ballpark project; the team and the city would contribute the rest to build the park just east of downtown on the old Gillette plant site.
But it’s going nowhere fast at the Capitol as legislators seem to have other issues on the agenda: taxes, constitutional amendments, a Vikings stadium. And getting re-elected.
But this is the St. Paul Saints baseball team, and they’re not going down without a spectacle. This is the team that sends baseballs to the umpire via pig, and gave out Larry Craig airport bathroom “bobble-feet” dolls.
So on Wednesday the Saints are inviting families and kids — they want lots of kids — to rally at the Capitol to remind legislators that they haven’t passed the ballpark funding.
Each kid showing up in uniform, jersey and cap (these would literally be rally caps) gets a pair of tickets for the May 14 Saints game, at the old ballpark, St. Paul’s Midway Stadium. (It’s an exhibition game.)
The promotion was a joint idea of the Saints (run by Mike Veeck, son of Major League Baseball promoter genius Bill Veeck) and the St. Paul Area Chamber of Commerce.
Mayor Chris Coleman’s office insists the need is great. Spokesman Joe Campbell says:
“The ballpark is the City’s number one legislative priority at the Capitol. Any delay in the project makes it that much harder to get this project done in the coming years. The time is now.”
Two Cities blog, which covers Minneapolis and St. Paul City Halls, is made possible in part by grants from The Saint Paul Foundation and the Carolyn Foundation.