Bloomington Votes to Purchase City's Last Large Farm for Potential World's Fair Use

September 24, 2017 06:10 PM

Bloomington city officials on Tuesday night voted unanimously to purchase the city's last remaining large farm with hopes to use the property for the 2023 World's Fair Expo, should it be awarded to the state.

With the vote, the city's Port Authority, along with the city council, agreed to purchase the 60-acre Spruce Shadows Farm on Old Shakopee Road near the Mall of America for $32.5 million.  

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Bob Erickson, the president of the Port Authority, said the money used to purchase the farm is not coming from resident's property tax.

"These are funds that don't affect the tax levy in any way, shape or form," he said.

Immediately after the vote Mayor Gene Winstead said, "this is a pretty big step."  

The World's Fair is even bigger than the Minnesota State Fair and attracts international attention.

RELATED: Last Large Farm in Bloomington May Be Sold

City officials said 12 million visitors are projected over the fair's three month run.  Some 10,000 jobs could be created and up to $4 billion generated in lodging, food and other sales.  At the meeting, it was referred to as the "Olympics of business". 

 "To build out the South Loop in Bloomington in an urban way, certainly the World's Fair would help do that," Port Authority Administrator Schane Rudlang said.

The ranch is located near the Mall of America, which draws 40-plus million shoppers a year.  The property is also ideal due to its proximity to hotels and transportation options.

The theme of the US bid in Minnesota is "Healthy People, Healthy Planet, Wellness and Well-Being for All."

The Bureau of International Expositions is expected to make its decision by November. If Bloomington is chosen, the deal to buy the land would go through by the end of the year.

The land is one of the largest undeveloped properties in the Twin Cities.


Minnesota's Bid for World Fair

Minnesota is one of three finalists to host the 2023 World's Fair - which will be known as Expo 2023.

The finalists for the award were announced in June in Paris by the General Assembly of the Bureau of International des Expositions.

The other finalists are Buenos Aires, Argentina and Lodz, Poland. If Minnesota's bid is selected, the theme for the Specialized Expo would be "Healthy People, Healthy Planet," playing on the state's reputation for medical care led by institutions like the Mayo Clinic.

A finalist will be selected in November.

The last time a World's Fair was held in the U.S was 1984 in New Orleans. 

RELATED: Minneapolis a Finalist For World's Fair

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Beth McDonough

Copyright 2017 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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