The month of June has been exciting on a variety of fronts for the Minnesota Twins and baseball fans across the Upper Midwest. On the field, the Twins have won games at a torrid pace creeping their way back into contention for a spot in postseason play. Off the field, Twins fans have rallied around their hometown team as huge crowds have packed the Dome for matchups versus the Red Sox, Cubs and Dodgers.
As the 2006 season progresses, so do plans for the construction of the Twins-Hennepin County ballpark. Over the past week we?ve seen a variety of developments:
Formation of Minnesota Ballpark Authority ?- As required in the Twins-Hennepin County ballpark legislation, this five-member group will provide oversight to the ballpark design and construction process. Scheduled to meet for the first time Friday, July 7, the MBA is made up of the following individuals:
- Steve Cramer, Chair — Former Minneapolis City Council Member (appointed by Hennepin County)
- Joan Campbell ? Former Minneapolis City Council Member (appointed by City of Minneapolis)
- Barb Sykora ? Retiring State Representative from Excelsior (appointed by Hennepin County)
- Mike Vekich ? Minnesota Partnership for Action Against Tobacco (appointed by Governor Pawlenty)
- John Wade ? Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce (appointed by Governor Pawlenty)
The Twins are quite pleased with the respective appointments and look forward to working closely with this thoughtful, well-rounded group of people. In the weeks to come look for this group to establish bylaws, appoint an executive director and develop an organizational structure.
Hennepin County OKs Spending Plan ?- The Hennepin County Commission has approved the allocation of $5 million in order to allow ballpark-related work to progress on a variety of fronts including land acquisition, environmental studies and a development agreement with the baseball team.
Public Hearings Set for Week of August 21 ?- The Hennepin County Commission voted to approve plans to hold three public hearings associated with the ballpark. Plans call for the hearings to be held during the week of August 21 in advance of a final vote later this year to levy the 0.15 percent county-wide sales tax. Rest assured, more details on the hearings (specific dates, times and locations) will be communicated in this space in the near future. As always, it?s important for ballpark advocates to demonstrate their support at every opportunity.
Meanwhile, the Twins continue to organize and prepare for the fast-approaching ballpark design process. Please keep the ballpark ideas rolling in! In the coming weeks a group from our organization will visit a variety of recently built ballparks including Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Citizen?s Bank Park in Philadelphia, Petco Park in San Diego and AT&T Park in San Francisco.
More on those trips ? and more importantly those ballparks ? to come in the near future.
Dave St. Peter
President, Minnesota Twins
As I sit down to write this initial blog entry, I can?t help but think what an exciting time this is for the Minnesota Twins organization and millions of baseball fans across the region.
Think about it. Over the past 30 days, the Minnesota State Legislature passed the Twins-Hennepin County ballpark bill, ending a decade of debate and helping preserve the franchise for future generations. If the historic passage of the ballpark legislation wasn?t enough, on the field a nucleus of young, up-and-coming players has emerged, helping bring the Twins back to the .500 mark and hopefully back into contention in the American League Central. Yes, it?s a great time to be a Twins fan.
The excitement of the past month is nothing compared with the anticipation for the return of outdoor baseball in April 2010. Our organization is already deeply immersed in the planning process, which will result in the construction and opening of one of America?s best baseball venues.
As the Twins begin to focus on the new ballpark, fans across the Upper Midwest will be front and center. In fact, this blog is designed to take fans along -? every step of the way — from the design process to the groundbreaking to the first pitch. The next 3 1/2 years promise to be jam-packed with new ballpark developments as the facility emerges in the Minneapolis warehouse district. We intend to utilize this space to provide fans with ?insider? perspective on the latest timelines, ballpark news, ticket options and much, much more.
So check back soon as the ballpark process begins to ramp up.
Dave St. Peter
President, Minnesota Twins