Next week, the St. Paul City Council is expected to vote on a plan to help fund environmental cleanup at the future Minnesota United FC stadium site.
The St. Paul Port Authority has proposed using existing tax increment financing (TIF) dollars for environmental cleanup of the stadium’s site, thereby covering a projected $825,000 to $1.18 million shortfall. One particular issue is the location polluted soils at a former Metro Transit “bus barn” facility that occupies a portion of the location.
Initially, it was expected that government grants would help to cover the cleanup process. However, the Port Authority has run into limitations for using grant funds to pay for environmental cleanup process of the entire site, including the bus barn, prompting the request for the city to authorize the use of TIF funds. More from The Pioneer Press:
“Once we got into the minutiae of the programmatic restrictions of those grants, it became clear those grants would not be eligible for the bus barn site,” said Monte Hilleman, a real estate director for the Port Authority. “We secured $3.1 million (in grants) to date, but … restrictions have meant only $325,000 can be used for the Met Council-owned bus barn site.”
As a result, officials project a shortfall of $825,000 to $1.18 million for cleanup, depending upon whether a final grant comes through from Ramsey County.
“This is not new money. This is not adding to the budget. This is simply using existing Port Authority TIF money,” said St. Paul City Finance Director Todd Hurley.
The Port Authority said there’s sufficient funding in two “tax increment finance” districts to cover the gap, but funneling that money toward the stadium cleanup requires city approval.
Minnesota United FC joined MLS as an expansion club this year, and is expected to spend the 2017 and 2018 seasons at TCF Bank Stadium before moving into the new facility in 2019. The Minnesota United FC stadium has pitched proposed as part of a larger development in St. Paul’s Midway neighborhood.
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