Senator Kathy Sheran and Rep. Kathy Brynaert introduced two bills to boost economic development with a bonding proposal to improve the Minnesota State University Arena and expand the Mankato Event Center auditorium and to enhance the Minnesota State clinical sciences facility.
The bill requests $14.5 million for the Event Center/Arena improvements and expansion.
The project will have an annual $50 million economic impact in Mankato and will create 450 construction jobs, with a resulting $84 million construction economic impact.
“Arena staff currently turns down convention and meeting opportunities because the structure lacks a large auditorium and breakout rooms,” Sen. Sheran said. “The lost economic impact due to lack of space is $3.7 million. The partnership between the University and the city is especially important because, with city ownership, the entire region benefits. We also meet the goals of the city, university and community with the same investment.”
Governor Mark Dayton included the $14.5 bonding request for the event center expansion and arena remodel in his $775 million capital investment proposal announced on January 17.
“This project has been a great collaborative effort between the university, city and business community. The increased facility space has a huge economic benefit to the region,” said Rep. Brynaert. “It is more than ready to go.”
Minnesota State University-Mankato is requesting $2 million for design of a new clinical sciences facility and renovation of existing structures on campus. Phase I and II bonding requests will be made in 2014 and 2016.
“The college has grown considerably the past seven years,” Sen. Sheran noted. “And jobs in the health care field are increasing exponentially. There is a great need for the expansion and renovation of the science facility.”
Rep. Brynaert added: “We hope we can get the funds for the design phase this session, and then work for future funding to get this project off the ground. The state needs the expertise of the graduates provided by Minnesota State. We hope to get a positive response on this bill.”
Bonding bills are expected to be unveiled and introduced in the House and Senate in the next few weeks.