ST. CLOUD -- Local leaders will begin a big push this week to get state bonding money to help upgrade the Municipal Athletic Complex. St. Cloud Mayor Dave Kleis and others will make their case for $16.2 million in state money Wednesday during the annual "St. Cloud Area Evening at the Capital" sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce.

ECONOMIC IMPACT: 
The Convention and Visitors Bureau estimates the MAC has an economic impact of $4.4 million, including 17,600 hotel room nights, from the 11 tournaments that they helped with. Besides the CVB-assisted tournaments, there were another 12 tournaments or regional competitions, 11 hockey camps, and the 36 home games of the St. Cloud Rox.  The MAC also hosted 32 high school hockey games, seven college hockey games, 45 high school baseball games, and 15 college baseball games.

WHAT THE PLAN INCLUDES:
-- A 27,000 square foot addition to the hockey arena addition that will include five new locker rooms, dryland training space, sports medicine area, office space, and storage.
-- A west lobby addition of 9,500 square feet that includes and expanded entry, ticketing, and restrooms.
-- Refrigeration system replacement with a more modern ammonia system that is cheaper to operate and more environmentally friendly.
-- Dick Putz Field Replacement and artificial turf.  The new stadium would be designed to accommodate other sports like soccer, lacrosse, and rugby.
-- Joe Faber Field upgrades including installing artificial turf.
-- Mechanical and structural upgrades to the 33-year-old roof.

TOTAL COST OVER $24.3 MILLION:
-- Arena Addition:  $8,587,025
-- West Lobby Addition: $2,180,500
-- Refrigeration: $1,500,000
-- Dick Putz Field: $4,400,000
-- Joe Faber Field: $2,000,000
-- Mechanical and structural upgrades: $3,950,000
-- New maintenance garage: $123,750
-- Professional services, fees, etc.: $1,000,000

FUNDING:
Besides the $16.2 million in state money, the city would add $4.1 million from half-cent sales tax dollars, and the final $4 million would come from things like sponsorships.

WHY THE STATE SHOULD CONTRIBUTE:
City leaders say the state should help pay for the improvements in part because both St. Cloud State University and the St. Cloud Technical and Community College use the baseball fields, and the state has a history of funding local athletic venues. State bonding money has supported 14 projects in 12 communities in the last 12 years. That doesn't include the $33 million the state paid for the National Sports Center in Blaine.

Senator Jerry Relph of St. Cloud has introduced the bill in the Senate and he sits on the Capital Investment Committee. In the House, Representative Tama Theis has introduced the bill, and Representative Dan Wolgamott is on the Capital Investment Committee. This is not a bonding year, but it is possible the state legislature could put together a smaller bonding bill this session.

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