The long-running debate over billboards in downtown Saint Paul is heating up again with a proposal to install two large digital displays on the exterior of Treasure Island Center. A request to change the city’s zoning code to allow the signs on Treasure Island Center—and at CHS Field as well—was recommended for approval by the CapitolRiver Council on a 7-5 vote in August.

Under the city’s zoning code, digital displays are only allowed at sports arenas in Saint Paul that seat 10,000 or more people. The proposed zoning change would lower that threshold to 1,000 seats. The change would be limited to arenas in the downtown business district.

Located on the site of the former Dayton’s and later Macy’s department store, Treasure Island Center has been redeveloped with office and retail uses and an ice rink that is used by Hamline University, various youth programs and the Minnesota Wild for practices.

Treasure Island Center was developed by the Saint Paul Port Authority, which initiated the proposed zoning change. It has the support of the Downtown Alliance and the Saint Paul Area Chamber of Commerce, but is opposed by the anti-billboard group Scenic Saint Paul.

— Jane McClure

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