The Minnesota United FC stadium proposal was discussed at a St. Paul City Council meeting on Wednesday, bringing out opinions for and against the project.
Minnesota United FC is working with the city on the details for a new stadium in Midway that would be part of a much larger development. The stadium would be an anchor project for a 34.4 acre “superblock” at Snelling and University, bringing new development and green space. As part of this plan, Midway Shopping Center would be demolished.
Having this stadium in place is key for Minnesota United FC’s chances of joining the MLS, a move that could happen next year. Currently officials are targeting a 2018 opening for the stadium, with parts of the development taking place over the ensuing years. While Minnesota United FC contends that the stadium and development will have a positive influence on the area, some residents are concerned about certain aspects of the proposal, including its timing. More from the Pioneer Press:
Minnesota United team owner Bill McGuire said sports fans want a full experience, and that means promoting nearby attractions for before and after games.
Said McGuire, referring to the stadium: “I will reiterate the (commitment) to have this done, and have this done at this site. … Since the Twins stadium went in, over $6 million in building permits were pulled” in the surrounding Minneapolis neighborhood.
Stadium proponents and unhappy homeowners squared off Wednesday in a public hearing before the city council, which will vote Aug. 17 on key planning documents related to stadium construction.
Opponents said Minnesota United has largely set the timetable for stadium planning in order to launch games in the Midway by 2018, forcing a rushed process.
“That to me is not allowing the residents of the neighborhoods to have a say in the process,” said Front Avenue resident Dennis Hill, who said residential streets will resemble “park-and-ride lots.”
Minnesota United, a second-tier team, is itching to upgrade to the major league and move out of its leased facility in Blaine. Team owners have promised to pay for construction and maintenance of a $150 million soccer stadium with private funds, provided the Legislature approves property tax relief, which is still pending.
The St. Paul City Council is slated to discuss the stadium again on August 18. At that meeting, it is expected that the council will vote on the stadium and a master plan for Midway. The proposal received the endorsement of St. Paul’s planning commission last month.
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