Plenty of applications for public works money

Ninety applicants want $288 million for public works projects across Minnesota, state officials announced this afternoon, but just $47.5 million is available.

“We were impressed by the volume and quality of the projects submitted for capital project grants,” said Commissioner Mark Phillips of the Department of Employment and Economic Development. “In the next several weeks, we will evaluate the applications closely and make a decision on which projects are selected. It’s going to take time, given the huge response to the program.”

Many of the 90 projects were ones lawmakers passed over during this year’s legislative session. They include items such as $400,000 Fosston seeks for street improvements. $5 million for a Giants Ridge events center on the Iron Range and $4.6 million for Wadena to replace facilities destroyed in a 2010 tornado.

Some of the larger applications include St. Paul seeking $27 million to build a minor league baseball park, Rochester wanting $25 million for a civic center expansion and Duluth requesting $10 million for a parking ramp.

State officials said it may take months to decide what projects get funded.

Legislators left the $47.5 million pot of money for the Dayton administration to divide up as part of a $500 million public works funding bill.

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