Funding secured for Wade Stadium, Spirit Mountain and NorShor

The state bonding bill that passed the Minnesota Senate today includes funding for Wade Stadium and NorShor Theatre renovation, and construction of a water-delivery system for Spirit Mountain.

“Restoring Wade Stadium will ensure the iconic ball field will continue to be enjoyed by players and fans for decades to come,” Duluth Mayor Don Ness said in a news release. “The Spirit Mountain water project will allow the ski hill to get off of the city’s treated water, saving money and opening up other potential development in the western part of town. The NorShor Theatre & Arts Center will serve as a catalyst for new development in old downtown.”

  • Wade Stadium received $2.3 million for field repairs and reconstruction of the stadium’s crumbling brick walls.
  • Spirit Mountain received $3.4 million to acquire land rights and to design and construct a system to deliver water to the ski facilities from the St. Louis River for snow-making purposes.
  • The NorShor Theatre received $6.95 million. The renovation is a partnership between Sherman & Associates and the Duluth Economic Development Authority, with productions to be managed by the Duluth Playhouse. The project will result in a 750+ seat theater with a new arts center, music and theater classrooms, workshops and guest services center.

Governor Dayton has agreed to sign the billion-dollar public-works bill into law. It includes $846 million in general obligation bonds with an additional bill that includes $200 million in surplus cash. The three Duluth projects will be funded through surplus cash.

The bonding part of the bill passed 47-17; the cash part passed 44-19.

List of all capital-investment omnibus bills passed by the House and Senate today (PDF)

Eyewitness News lists the bonded projects in northeastern Minnesota



about 7 years ago

I can't find it online, so can you tell us what the overall costs are for renovations (especially the NorShor) and where funding from other sources derives?

Paul Lundgren

about 7 years ago

The total NorShor Theatre and Temple Opera Building renovation is expected to cost $24 million. Between the money from the state and a local fundraising campaign, subtract roughly $8 million. That leaves $16 million for Sherman & Associates to cover, although the fundraising campaign could bring in more money and other sources might be discovered along the way.

The last number I saw floated for the total Wade Stadium renovation was $11.6 million. The renovation can be done in stages, so part of it will likely happen right away and the rest will wait for the rest of the funding to be figured out. Mayor Ness has hopes that a reinstated tourism tax will fill part of the gap, and there will likely be a future push for more state money.

I think the total of the Spirit Mountain project is $5.5 million -- $3.4 million from the state and $1.1 million from Spirit Mountain.

Paul Lundgren

about 7 years ago

Apparently Spirit Mountain will also be looking for tourism tax money.

Duluth News Tribune: With bonding cash nearly in hand, Duluth mayor ready to work

Ness said the city aims to use the new sales tax revenue for the matching funds required to complete work at Wade Stadium and Spirit Mountain.
Regarding Wade Stadium:
(Ness) said the bonding money will enable the city to tend to the stadium's most immediate needs for a new field surface, improved lighting and tuckpointing to secure sections of the brick structure that are beginning to give way. Nevertheless, Ness said the original plan called for additional guest amenities at Wade, including an updated concourse and new, improved seating. "We have been referring to our scaled-down version of this as 'Phase I,' and it will be up to a future City Council and a future administration to determine what form a potential Phase II will take," he said.

Don Ness

about 7 years ago

The vast majority of the funding for the NorShor will come from new market and historic tax credits.   Other sources include: $7m from the state, $2m private fundraising, and a collection of smaller sources.   The City's contribution comes in the form of the $2.6 million of the building.   Those dollars were economic development dollars that could not be spent on streets, police, etc.   Overall, the city is contributing about 12% of the overall cost of a project that will save this building and contribute to the revitalization of downtown.

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