New St. Paul Saints Ballpark Costs Continue to Rise

Updated: 06/13/2013 7:48 AM By: Todd Wilson

The price tag for the St. Paul Saints new ballpark started at $54 million.

That project is facing new costs that add millions to the price tag. At this point, it is not clear where that money will come from.

Most of the cost overruns come from soil issues. That and other problems have pushed the price tag from $54 million to $62.8 million.

Mike Hahm is the Director of Parks and Recreation for the City of St. Paul. It was his responsibility to deliver a cost increase letter to City Council members. It detailed why the new Saints ballpark is now over budget.

"The math on the $8.8 is $6.2 million is related to site conditions and environmental and $2.6 million is related to park design," Hahm said.

Park design problems include ensuring the number of seats for visitors and community gathering space for residents.

Environmental issues include large amounts of contaminated and structurally unstable soil at the site. About $5 million was already set aside for clean up, but at the moment they are $6.2 million over that. So the question is, how are they going to fix this?
"The exact details we don't know. We have a lot of ideas. We've solved problems like this before," Hahm said.

Hahm says, the project team is pursuing a combination of public and private funding. Wednesday afternoon during a conference call the question came up about asking the Saints ownership for more money.

Tom Whaley, Executive Vice President of the St. Paul Saints spoke up.

"From our understanding the most important thing is get all the facts on the table and establish a number and go at the number," Whaley said.

Hahm says, despite the new obstacles the timeline for construction remains on schedule.

Interior demolition will begin at the end of this month. And then by mid July, the actual building of the exterior and structural demolition take place.