Ness Proposes Ideas For Funding Repairs To Wade Stadium

By KBJR News 1

March 28, 2013 Updated Mar 28, 2013 at 7:03 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) - Duluth Mayor Don Ness is considering bringing back a tourism tax to fix Wade Stadium.

The Mayor says an estimated $500K is needed for engineering and design alone.

The money would get the project started but would not include costs for actually fixing the aging stadium.

The cost of a full renovation ranges from eight to $12M.

Half of that amount would need to be generated by the City of Duluth to set up any potential for state money.

The mayor says if the legislature commits to the planning money during this session, construction funding is more likely in the 2014 bonding bill.

However, the state requires a 50 percent city match.

The Mayor says one way to raise money for that match could be through a half percentage point food and beverage tax.

That might be a tough sell because the city dropped that tax in October of last year.

"The best opportunity to do that is to look at the half–percent food and beverage tax that expired in October. We had this that would be a possible source that the city could come and dedicate those dollars to help provide the local match and make this renovation possible," Duluth Mayor Don Ness said.

If the city does take food and beverage tax into consideration, that the decision will be up to the voters during a referendum on this November's ballot.

Ness is asking for the city council to bring alternative ideas to the tax for other possible sources of funding.

But let's take a look a the progress the city maintenance team has made on the wall repair in the last several days.

As you can see, crews have leveled off the wall where the collapse occurred.

The city has yet to permanently cap off the top of the wall.

Mayor ness says if all goes as planned, ground will improvements will be made after the Huskies baseball season next year with a projected completion date of 2015.

But the first step is securing the design dollars and building public support to revive this historic property.

Justin Reis, NNC.