ST. CLOUD -- The city of St. Cloud is planning to ask the Minnesota State Legislature for $16.2 million in bonding money to help renovate the Municipal Athletic Complex. Mayor Dave Kleis says the total cost for the project is $24.3 million, with the rest of the money coming from local sources.

The request for bonding money is a change from an original plan that would have raised the city's hospitality tax.

Kleis says there's a strong case to be made that the MAC is a regional asset.

We feel very strongly that this is a state asset.  In fact, St. Cloud State University and the St. Cloud Technical and Community College it is their only baseball facility.  If they had their own fields they'd be asking the state to renovate those fields through the bonding process.

Kleis says he's confident there will be a bonding bill in the 2019 legislative session, even though it is technically not a bonding year.

Some of the planned enhancements include a two-level expansion of the ice arena facilities, including five locker rooms, space for dryland training, batting cages, new refrigeration plant for both ice sheets, a new lobby and ticketing area for the arena, replacement of Dick Putz Field, including seating for about 1,000, and installation of artificial turf on both fields.

The MAC opened in 1971 with Dick Putz Field.  A year later the first hockey sheet now called Dave Torrey Arena opened.  The second ice sheet called Ritsche Arena opened in 1997, followed by a second baseball field -- Joe Faber Field -- in 1998.  The city began operating the nine-hole Veterans Public Golf Course in 1990.

Kleis says with the improvements they're planning the MAC will also be able to accommodate soccer, lacrosse, rugby and other sports.

The city hopes to have the expansion done by 2021.

If you want to weigh in on the plan, a community open house will be held Tuesday from 6:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. in the facility's Dave Torrey Arena.