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Ryan gets Lowertown ballpark nod

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That's the word this morning from City Hall, where mayor Chris Coleman confirmed what the city actually did last year -- picking Ryan Cos. to build a new ballpark for the St. Paul Saints near the Farmer's Market.

“We are thrilled that this part of the process is complete, and that we are able to move forward to build the ballpark with a company that we know will be responsive and responsible, has demonstrated experience, and will hit the ground running," Coleman siad in a statement. “This ballpark will be an attraction for families across the region, it will add vitality to our community, it will bring 400,000 people to downtown yearly, and create hundreds of jobs. With this decision, we are one significant step closer to playing baseball in Lowertown.”

It's the second time the city has picked Ryan. The first came just hours after they won a state grant to pay for about half of the $54 million project. A lawsuit by the Taxpayers League of Minnesota and a prominent construction law firm sent them back to the drawing board, saying the no-bid process wasn't appropriate.

They didn't think much of this method, either.

Taxpayer's League president Phil Krinkie put it bluntly:  "In a charade of a bidding process in which total cost of the project was only 15% of the overall score, the city again chose Ryan Construction for the project. The City of St. Paul has again violated the trust of the taxpayers with a sham of the competitive bidding process on this project."