City officials in St. Paul want to build a new ice arena downtown, and they think they’ve identified a funding source: $33 million in cash the city owes to the state.
Sponsored by Rep. Tim Mahoney (DFL-St. Paul), HF1263 would forgive the bulk of a $48 million loan St. Paul took out to build the Xcel Energy Center. Mayor Chris Coleman said the city hopes to divert the money it would have paid on the loan to help finance the Pond — a proposed 120,000-square foot, three-level ice arena near the Xcel.
“The Pond has been a vision for the community for several years now,” Coleman said.
Not everyone likes the idea. Rep. Sarah Anderson (R-Plymouth) said St. Paul gave its word to repay the loan.
“I remember very vividly promises from St. Paul that this was a loan they were going to pay back,” Anderson said.
The House Higher Education and Workforce Development Finance and Policy Division laid the bill over for possible inclusion in its omnibus finance bill. Sen. Richard Cohen (DFL-St. Paul) sponsors the companion, SF1115, which awaits action by the Senate Economic Development and Housing Budget Division.