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Allianz Field

Redeveloping the Snelling-Midway Site

When the City of Saint Paul and Minnesota United FC – the Twin Cities’ newest professional sports franchise – announced plans for a soccer stadium on a 35-acre brownfield site at Snelling and University Avenue, Capitol Region Watershed District (CRWD) saw an opportunity to demonstrate stormwater innovation for thousands of District and metro area residents. The project would be one of the largest and most visible redevelopments in the city’s history and creating new green infrastructure improvements to the site would be essential to advancing CRWD’s mission of improving the District’s water resources.

The Challenge

Prior to stadium construction, all stormwater runoff from the site was untreated and flowed directly to the Mississippi River. The site’s highly urbanized location, contamination and lack of permeable surfaces have contributed to sediment and nutrient impairments in the river. With the success of green infrastructure improvements to the adjacent Green Line light rail corridor, CRWD sought similar practices at the new stadium and its surrounding site.

“The Snelling Midway site is truly a landmark project for the watershed. It’s a perfect example of how careful planning and public and private partnerships can yield new and creative ideas for stormwater management, water conservation and community education about urban water ecosystems.” – Anna Eleria, Planning, Projects & Grants Division Manager for CRWD

The Solution

A study conducted by the City of Saint Paul in 2013 explored creating shared, stacked green infrastructure (SSGI) to help achieve redevelopment goals for density, sustainability and vibrant spaces. The SSGI approach to green infrastructure treats stormwater from multiple parcels with shared practices that utilize landscape features or natural processes to provide environmental, social and economic benefits. By 2017, sustainable stormwater management plans were further developed in partnership with the Snelling Midway Technical Advisory Committee.

Based on the site master plan, the City of Saint Paul, Minnesota United FC and site owners RK Midway proposed construction of innovative green infrastructure practices for the project. These improvements include comprehensive rainwater and stormwater capture and reuse systems, as well as tree trenches and rain gardens to help improve water quality, reduce use of potable water supplies and enhance the city’s tree canopy to reduce urban air temperatures and improve air quality.

Results

Completed in spring 2019, the soccer stadium uses reclaimed water from rooftop runoff to irrigate the three-quarter-acre park north of the stadium, site trees and other green spaces. Upon full reconstruction of the entire site and connections to the comprehensive rainwater capture and reuse system, upwards of 2 million gallons of water per year can be conserved. The SSGI approach to the project will also help achieve greater density on the site, consistent with long-range plans for the community, making the Snelling Midway redevelopment the centerpiece of a revitalized urban neighborhood.

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