City, county push for

Jeremy Taff

Although St. Paul Mayor Norm Coleman and Ramsey County commissioners want until March to find an alternative site for the University’s new women’s soccer stadium, the regents said Wednesday they must act by October.
To the dismay of several Falcon Heights residents, the Board of Regents passed a policy in July to build a $2 million women’s soccer stadium at Cleveland and Larpenteur avenues in Falcon Heights.
Title IX, enforced by the U.S. Office of Civil Rights, requires the University to provide comparable facilities between women’s and men’s athletics.
The office requires the University to show by October that it is moving forward with plans to build comparable facilities. Regents will formally review the extension request at their September meeting in Marshall, Minn.
“We were told early on that we’ve got to get this thing done by October,” Regent Tom Reagan said. “I don’t see how we could grant a six-month extension.”
University President Mark Yudof is on a business trip in Scandinavia, but administrators said he will review the resolution alongside all other information when he returns at the end of the month.
“The administration is using this time to work with the city of Falcon Heights,” said McKinley Boston, vice president for Student Development and Athletics. “We want to be good neighbors, and we have committed to working with the city of St. Paul and we will continue to do that.”
Ramsey County Commissioner Janice Rettman helped pass the proposal that, if approved by the regents, would grant the city of St. Paul an extra six months to find a new site for the stadium.
“The six-month delay is not a delay to not do something,” Rettman said. “We want to speed up the process to find an alternative at a more positive site.”
Rettman said the delay would make sense because the current site would have limited options and upset residents. The proposed stadium would have 1,500 seats and a limited number of games.
“With women’s ice hockey and soccer in place, we will be well within the bounds of the law,” Reagan said. “This is kind of a final step.”
Supporters of the resolution said they have nothing against women’s athletics but delaying construction of the stadium is necessary.
“The women deserve and require a new stadium,” Rettman said. “But we don’t want to lower our standards and get it so fast that we don’t have a first-rate site. Give us some real, legitimate time to work together with everyone to get this done.”