As any baseball fan already knows, there is nothing that compares to Opening Day. The knowledge that spring has sprung coupled with the anticipation for a new season makes Opening Day a holiday of sorts for multiple generations of fans across the country. Those ?Opening Day? feelings will be present again this week when the Twins and construction manager M.A. Mortenson Company officially set up shop on the ballpark site and commence site clearing ? all in preparation for the groundbreaking and pile driving in the month of August.
Opening Day on the ballpark front is set for Tuesday (May 15) when Mortenson begins the first phase of construction by starting site clearing. From the installation of the construction fence to the stripping away of the existing parking surface, this phase will set the stage for significant construction in the weeks and months to come. Already, we?ve seen work begin on the roads and bridges surrounding the ballpark site. Work has caused the temporary closure of the Fifth Street bridge. Soon, work will expand to portions of Third Avenue North between Fifth and Seventh Street.
Tuesday?s events will include a briefing for local media highlighting the site clearing process and construction timeline. A focal point of that briefing will be the presentation of the actual locations of home plate, first, second and third base. I was lucky enough to be on the ballpark site in recent days when Mortenson?s survey crew marked the location of said four corners of the diamond, plus the foul poles. While the infield?s actual location on the site surprised me (it was farther East than I expected), the home plate view of Downtown Minneapolis was exactly what I expected ? outstanding!
We?ll continue to keep you posted as the exciting process of building Minnesota?s ballpark evolves.
Dave St. Peter
President, Minnesota Twins
Make way for the bulldozers, it?s time to build Minnesota?s ballpark.
Those words became reality early Tuesday when Hennepin County took the necessary action to acquire the eight-acre ballpark site in downtown Minneapolis. The County?s presentation of a $13.75 Million to a judge signals the start of the ?quick take? condemnation process and thus ends a bizarre, frustrating four-month period of uncertainty surrounding the ballpark project. While the Twins and Hennepin County had preferred a negotiated settlement with the private landowners, all sides are resigned to reality of the condemnation process. That process will play out over the course of the summer.
Tuesday’s action by Hennepin County comes following several days of negotiations between the baseball team, the County, the Minnesota Ballpark Authority and the Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) railroad. Said negotiations revolved around several critical issues including track realignment, air-rights, operations during construction and insurance indemnification. The parties reached agreement in recent days thus triggering today?s action by Hennepin County.
With the final piece of the puzzle now in place, the project team is eager to gain access to the site and commence the construction process. The only thing standing in the way of starting that process are several hundred cars currently parked on the site. Thirty-day notices had been previously sent to those parkers giving the project team confidence in our ability to gain full access to the site by the end of May. Most importantly, we remain well on pace to conduct a formal groundbreaking and begin driving piles in early August.
As we charge forward, a special thanks to Twins fans everywhere for incredible patience and support. We?ll continue to keep you posted as the project evolves.
Dave St. Peter