City of St. Paul proposes The Pond
The city of St. Paul asked the state of Minnesota to forgive a loan in order to build, own and operate an ice arena across the street from the Xcel Energy Center.
Mayor Chris Coleman proposed the idea of creating a second ice rink, called The Pond or 'Mini-X,' to a state House subcommittee Thursday. In order to build the rink, Coleman's bill asked the lawmakers to forgive $33 million in loans, which the city would use to build the arena.
According to the Star Tribune, the bill would also allow the city to issue up to $40 million in bonds to help finance the project.
The building will be 120,000 square feet and will have three stories. It will be open year-round, have seating for up to 4,000 people and, according to the Pioneer Press, house shops and restaurants in the future.
According to the Star Tribune, the Pond will provide a place for the Minnesota Wild to practice, to host amateur hockey and figure skating events, to handle overflow from the Xcel Center events and to give downtown visitors another recreational event that would make them spend more time and money in the area.
"It creates jobs, it's shovel-ready and it can have an immediate impact on the economy," Coleman told a subdivision of the House Finance Committee, according to the Star Tribune. "This is exactly what the city of St. Paul needs to be doing in this economy."
St. Paul officials told the Star Tribune the project will create 200 jobs and bring in more money. The early estimates say the rink will make at least $4 million annually.
The future of the plan is unclear.
The city has tried to persuade lawmakers to forgive the debt previous to this proposal, but it has failed.
According to the Star Tribune, the city will continue to pay the loan for the next four years, for a total of about $7 million. If the legislation is approved, the city would have paid back $15.3 million of the original $48 million Xcel loan.