Updated: 06/06/2014 6:14 AM
Created: 06/05/2014 6:23 PM KSTP.com
By: Tom Hauser
After a 15-year quest for state funding to expand its convention center, the city of St. Cloud finally celebrated Thursday. Officials invited Governor Dayton to help kick of construction of an $11.5 million parking ramp and plaza adjacent to the Rivers Edge Convention Center downtown.
"It's a triumph of persistence over adversity," Governor Dayton told city leaders forced inside for the event because of rain.
Money for the convention center had been vetoed so many times the city finally expanded the facility on its own. They kept trying for state funding to add additional parking and were finally successful this year.
"We were confident at some point it was going to pass," said St. Cloud Mayor Dave Kleis, a former state senator. "It always got mixed into some kind of politics. Whether it was the governor, the legislature or part of the bill being attached to the other convention centers."
In tough budget times it was difficult to push convention center money through during the past 10-15 years. However, in 2014, St. Cloud will get $11.5 million, Rochester will get $35 million for expansion of the Mayo Civic Center and Mankato will get $14.5 million to expand its convention center.