ST. LOUIS – The first $30 million of the city of St. Louis’ share of the Rams settlement money may be used to help fund the expansion of the America’s Center downtown. The project is so far over budget that the $30 million won’t be enough to make up for everything. However, it could certainly help.

Ground was broken on the two-phase convention center expansion last May, without enough money to finish phase two. $210 million was originally budgeted for the project, with St. Louis City and County each kicking in $105 million.

We’re told funding and bidding delays along with supply chain issues brought on by the pandemic have pushed the project was beyond $210 million.

There is enough money to finish the new façade and the 92,000 square feet of exhibit space along Cole Street. Although, there is not enough for the new outdoor plaza and indoor grand ballroom that have been promised to people planning to hold conventions there late this year into early 2024.

The city received $280 million in Rams settlement money, the county got $169 million, and the RSA, the group which runs the Dome, got $70 million for Dome upkeep.

$30 million of the city’s share is supposed to be for the Convention Center project.

Alderman Jack Coatar has proposed a bill authorizing that spending.

“There’s this $30 million basically appropriated to the city specifically for the convention center expansion. If we don’t use it for that purpose, it reverts back to the RSA. So, from my perspective and city leaders’ perspectives, let’s go ahead and use this money to at least get some of the second phase of the convention center expansion done. “

Coatar also said an additional $80 million beyond the $30 million in Rams money could be needed to get everything done.

The Aldermanic Committee on Conventions, Tourism, Arts, and Humanities is set to consider Coatar’s bill Wednesday.