Posted at: 09/13/2012 5:21 PM
Updated at: 09/13/2012 5:26 PM
By: Dietrich Nissen
Rochester’s Mayo Civic Center Misses Out On Funding
(ABC 6 News) -- On Thursday Governor Mark Dayton announced which local construction projects would get a slice of the $47.5 million dollar state grant fund. Among the projects looking for money was the Rochester Civic Center, which did not receive any funding.
The governor's answer to why the Mayo Civic Center did not receive funding was this.
"Unfortunately they did not score high enough in the DEEDs rating system to qualify for funding," said Dayton. Local leaders reacted with one word - disappointment.
"It's very disappointing," says Rochester mayor, Ardell Brede.
"I'm pretty disappointed in that," says Representative Tina Liebling.
"I'm disappointed with the governor's selection," says Senate Majority leader, David Senjem.
As Mayor Brede pointed out in a local paper, their reactions can hardly be thought of as a surprise given Dayton's public support for the Civic Center's expansion.
"We had this in the bonding bill before and it was vetoed by [then] Governor Tim Pawlenty, and then Governor Dayton supported the project to go in the bonding bill [but it wound up not being included]," says Liebling. "It's sort of like we can't win on this one."
Local governments submitted more than $280 million dollars’ worth of projects that did not make it into the bonding bill last spring. At the time, lawmakers decided to put $47.5 million dollars of un-designated money into the bonding bill. That left Dayton with the current task of choosing which projects would get that money.
"This should've been handled in an adequate bonding bill rather than this kind of back-door method," says Dayton. He chose to fund a light rail line into the Twin Cities' southwest suburbs, several sewer treatment plants, and more than half the money went to a Saint Paul Saints’ stadium.
Something local leaders were appalled by.
"I can't imagine too many people are going to be driving from Madison, Wisconsin, or something, over just because it's a news stadium," says Brede.
"I can assure those in Rochester, Saint Cloud, and Mankato, that those three projects will be at the top of my 2013 bonding proposal," said Dayton.
His decision came just a few days after the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) gave him a ratings report.
The report scored the 90 submitted projects using five categories, including project readiness, regional impact, and number of jobs created.
If you want to look at the DEED report or find more information, click on these links.