Rochester expects chunk of state grant money

Supporters of construction projects around the state are trying to get some of the nearly $50 million lawmakers set aside for grants, but the Senate author of the bill says the provision really was written for his hometown.

Senate Majority Leader Dave Senjem, R-Rochester, told his community’s business leaders that the money is a good fit the Mayor Civic Center expansion project, Heather Carlson of the Post-Bulletin of Rochester reported.

To qualify for some of the funds, to be awarded by the Democratic Dayton administration, a project must bring money into Minnesota from elsewhere and create jobs.

“I don’t know if you could have written criteria that more closely identifies with Mayo Civic Center,” Senjem said.

The senator said politics would be to blame if Rochester does not get a $35 million piece of the pie.

Rochester, Mankato and St. Cloud all wanted money to expand civic centers, but Senjem said that the Republican-controlled Legislature would not approve three such projects.

In all, more than $2 billion worth of projects were submitted for public works financing, with almost $500 million eventually awarded.

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