The process to design Minnesota?s new ballpark took another important step forward Friday when the Minnesota Ballpark Authority (MBA) passed a resolution authorizing the Minnesota Twins to take leadership in designing and constructing the facility. While still subject to Hennepin County consent, the resolution paves the way for the baseball team to begin finalizing a project team including architects and general contractors. More on that front in the weeks to come as the Twins look to put the right firms and people in place to ensure a superior design and efficient construction as we target Opening Day 2010.
As the Twins prepare to move into a full-fledged design process, the team continues to collaborate with multiple groups with hopes of generating a functional ballpark program. From the best practices of other Major League Baseball teams to local government units such as the MBA, Hennepin County or the City of Minneapolis, the team is currently all ears when it comes to accepting input on the ballpark design.
However, no group will have more impact on the ballpark?s final design than Upper Midwest baseball fans. Look for opportunities for fans to provide feedback on the ballpark as the process continues. In fact, fans stopping by the Twins State Fair Experience can share their ideas and visions for the new facility. The State Fair opportunity continues the New Ballpark Suggestion Box found at www.twinsbaseball.com, where the team has received more than 2,500 unique ballpark ideas in just a five-week period. Starting this week, we will feature an ?idea of the week? (see below). Rest assured, every idea is reviewed by Twins management and sorted for future consideration.
A significant majority of the ideas fall into one of the following three categories:
1. Antithesis of the Metrodome
Understanding the Twins have been playing baseball in the corner of football stadium for 25 years, fans are seeking the following:
- Superior sightlines and views
- Fan comfort ? wider seats, more leg room, restrooms, wider concourses, open concourses.
- Major league scoreboard and sound systems.
- Expanded food and beverage offerings ? signature food items.
2. Minnesota Look and Feel
Fans feel strongly that the ballpark must be a proper showcase of Minnesota.
- Ballpark exterior/interior ? materials, color scheme
- Landscape architecture ? native trees, flowers, waterfalls, fountains, stream
3. Minnesota Baseball History
Fans want the ballpark to celebrate the history of Minnesota baseball.
- Tributes to former Twins greats.
- Celebration of Minnesota amateur baseball ? town ball.
- Symbolize Minnesota ballparks ? Metrodome, Metropolitan Stadium, Nicollet Park, Lexington Field.
No matter where fans stood on the ballpark financing package, everyone shares the common goal of building America?s best ballpark. While the research is difficult to quantify, we think it provides a tremendous sampling of what the average Twins fan wants to see in Minnesota?s new ballpark. So keep your ideas coming. Who knows? Perhaps your idea will be implemented in the new ballpark.
Dave St. Peter
Ballpark Ideas of the Week ? 1.) A giant, old scoreboard. The kind where someone has to manually change the numbers. 2.) A Skyway Café above/behind center field. People could eat and watch the game. 3.) An underground viewing area behind the backstop. Open during batting practice, then covered during the game. ? Megan of Deephaven, MN.
As we approach the home stretch of the 2006 Major League Baseball season, the Minnesota Twins find themselves in the midst of the Wild Card hunt. The next eight weeks promise to be exciting times as this current group of Twins battles the likes of the World Champion White Sox, the Red Sox and Yankees for a spot in baseball?s postseason.
Meanwhile, planning and coordination continues surrounding the Twins-Hennepin County ballpark project. Here is a summary of the news and notes from the past few days:
MBA Names Dan Kenney Executive Director
Just last week, the recently-formed Minnesota Ballpark Authority (MBA) made one of their first critical decisions when they named Dan Kenney executive director. Kenney brings a wealth of related experience after serving as a member of the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission. Moreover, in his role as chief of staff to Hennepin County Commissioner Mike Opat, Kenney was a key player throughout the development of the Twins-Hennepin County ballpark vision. In short, Dan Kenney was a responsible choice to bring day-to-day leadership to the MBA?s oversight of the ballpark project?s coordination, design and construction.
Public Hearings Scheduled for August 22-24
Twins ballpark supporters should make plans now to attend the Hennepin County ballpark hearings which are scheduled for August 22-24. These public hearings are designed to provide Hennepin County residents with the opportunity to provide input on the ballpark funding source, design and overall implementation. To that end, it?s important that your voice is heard in relation to the importance of this project to the City of Minneapolis, Hennepin County and the State of Minnesota. There is no question that the vocal support from people throughout the state played a key role in ensuring the passage of the Twins-Hennepin County ballpark legislation. It would be wonderful to see that same level of support at the County level. The public hearings are scheduled as follows:
Tuesday, August 22 ? 5-7 p.m.
Hennepin County Government Center
Board Room ? 24th Floor
300 S. 6th Street
Wednesday, August 23 ? 6-8 p.m.
Bloomington Civic Plaza
1800 W. Old Shakopee Road
Thursday, August 24 ? 6-8 p.m.
Maple Grove Government Center
12800 Arbor Lakes Parkway
Stay tuned to Twinsbaseball.com for the latest ballpark developments.
Dave St. Peter
President, Minnesota Twins