Ramsey County can use its own bonds to borrow money for the $30 million purchase and cleanup of the polluted Twin Cities Army Ammunition Plant, but the county still will have to look to the state for help redeveloping Minnesota's largest Superfund site.
Chief on the county's wish list: new roads.
"We'll need the state to be a partner in this before the project is completed," said Ramsey County Finance Director Lee Mehrkens, addressing lawmakers during a recent tour of the site.
That's no small ask.
County officials have estimated they'll need at least $35.2 million in road improvements from now through 2017 to make the TCAAP site marketable. Previous estimates had exceeded $100 million, back when a Minnesota Vikings stadium, a hotel, housing and other development were on the drawing board.
The Vikings are staying in Minneapolis, and it's unclear what kind of development will someday be built on the 430-acre TCAAP property.
Nevertheless, when county officials led a tour of the site recently, they made clear that they're looking to the Minnesota Department of Transportation, state legislators and other leaders to hold down costs and make those road improvements happen.
Some lawmakers feel the county is moving forward too quickly on the land purchase from the federal government and should wait a year to refine plans before asking for state road dollars.
"We have not nearly enough transportation dollars for all the needs in the state, and they're really long lists," said state Rep. Alice Hausman, DFL-St. Paul, chair of the House Capital Investment Committee.
MnDOT Northern Area Manager Wayne Norris said his department has programmed about $8 million in improvements near the TCAAP site through 2015, in two projects that were identified more than three years ago. The department plans to redeck the County Road 96 bridge over Interstate 35W for $1 million and replace the County Road H bridge over I-35W for $6.8 million. Anything beyond that likely will require action from the Metropolitan Council and state lawmakers.