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