ST. CLOUD (AP) -- Local and state environmentalists are keeping an eye on St. Cloud State University's proposal to build a stadium near the banks of the Mississippi River.
The land proposed for the $9.7 million, 5,000-seat stadium is protected by the state's Wild and Scenic Rivers program. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, which oversees the program, has stepped in to work with St. Cloud State as it plans the stadium.
"My concern is just for the environmental interest to be considered in the early stages of planning," said Charlotte Stephens, chairwoman of the St. Cloud Area Environmental Council. "I would encourage the university to be communicating with (the DNR) as they develop their plans so that it doesn't end up to be adversarial later on."
Dan Lais, the DNR's primary liaison on the project, said the agency does not oppose the stadium and has sent a letter to St. Cloud State, outlining guidelines the university must follow.
"We're not going to be acting like Big Brother here," Lais said.
St. Cloud State will comply and work with the DNR, said Steve Ludwig, interim vice president for administrative affairs at St. Cloud State. Nothing is final in the university's planning for the stadium, he said.
The city has its own scenic rivers ordinance, but since the university is a state entity, it doesn't have to comply with St. Cloud's regulations.
"(But) if you follow the strict scenic river regulations, a structure like that would not be allowed," said Gerald Hengel, assistant planning director for the city.
Under the city's ordinance, buildings have to be 150 feet from the river, and a stadium is a type of building that would not be permitted on that land. The state requires all structures built on protected land to be 50 feet from the river and less than 35 feet tall. Less than 30 percent of the lot can be covered with impervious materials, such as concrete.
Hengel anticipates the city will leave the matter in the jurisdiction of the DNR.
St. Cloud State has proposed building the stadium 300 feet from the river, Lais said. The height of the stadium, with it's proposed retractable roof, might pose a problem.
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