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