Here is an email from the County Comptroller in response to a FOIA request that shows that County taxpayers have received very little in return for the siting of this for-profit private operation of the Rock on public land. As discussed in numerous documents, this operation has been costly for taxpayers and presents significant potential liability for adverse environmental events. But to date taxpayers have received only $25,000 in rents over the last 3.5 years. As discussed elsewhere, fixed revenues have been redirected in an attempt to fix the site defects. But more importantly, no “contingent County revenues” intended to benefit County taxpayers from successful financial operations on public land have been realized. So while the private operator touts his acumen and great project success, that success simply does not reach to taxpayers.
Saint Paul Stadium as “Comparable” Development
The developer has used the recently constructed minor league stadium in Saint Paul, Minnesota as a “comparable” facility. We sure hope that he is not serious about this comparison. Particularly, because the facility has suffered a series of project cost increases and site problems that resulted in a total project cost of $64 million. For comparison, the project cost was originally estimated at $25 to $30 million in 2009. At every step in the process, officials were apparently just as confident, as now, that the project would “remain on schedule and on budget.” The use of Saint Paul as a comparable development is simply not supported by the facts. Any understanding of baseball economics would recognize the significant differences between the communities in the respective MSA populations, community incomes and in the number of headquarter businesses available to sponsor minor league baseball. The developer’s consultants certainly understand the weakness in making this comparison.