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Minnesota State University, Mankato

Minnesota State University, Mankato

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Senate majority leader backs Civic Center expansion

Senate Majority Leader Dave Senjem said the Senate’s bonding bill will emphasize higher education and state infrastructure more than Gov. Mark Dayton’s plan.

2012-01-23
By Dan Linehan, Free Press Staff Writer [published in The Free Press, Mankato, MN, 1/18/2012]

Senate Majority Leader Dave Senjem said the Senate’s bonding bill will emphasize higher education and state infrastructure more than Gov. Mark Dayton’s plan.

The city of Mankato’s $14.5 million request to renovate and expand its Verizon Wireless Center would seem not to fit in either category. But the city is making a bigger effort to link the civic center with its biggest tenant, Minnesota State Mankato and its hockey teams.

When the Senate Bonding Committee, which Senjem also heads, came to town Tuesday, the city employed this new strategy. It included moving the women’s hockey team downtown, $5.8 million in arena improvements and more prominent branding of the civic center as the home of Maverick hockey.

After the meeting, Senjem said the state’s interest — Minnesota State Mankato as a tenant, in other words — would be important when the committee releases its bonding list.

“They’ve got hockey needs,” he said, and fixing their arena would be cheaper than building new.

In past years (and vetoes) the city has focused on a lack of parity — other civic centers have received state money while Mankato’s has not — but this time the city is focusing on its economic impact and the Minnesota State Mankato connection.

The proposal, kicked off by a Minnesota State Mankato employee and held in a university ballroom, was attended by perhaps 150 people, including many Mankato business people.

For the complete story, see The Free Press e-edition at http://mankatofreepress.mn.newsmemory.com/, or click on http://mankatofreepress.com/local/x1561261563/Senjem-says-Senate-bonding-proposal-to-emphasize-higher-ed-and-infrastructure.

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