Jump to content

The Twins' New Ballpark

Guest Festa

Recommended Posts

Guest Festa

Pre-dawn vote gives Twins their stadium


Pioneer Press


After hours of committee meetings, years of waiting and dozens of starts and stops, the Legislature Sunday passed a $522 million measure to build a new Minnesota Twins ballpark in Minneapolis.


The bill will soon be on Gov. Tim Pawlenty's desk, making it a signature ? which he is expected to give ? away from reality.


The Minnesota Senate, where the votes were in doubt until the pre-dawn hours, passed the measure at shortly before 5 a.m. by 34-32.


"Kirby Puckett's number," Jerry Bell, Twins owner Carl Pohlad's chief negotiator in team's decade-long fight for public funding for a ballpark, exclaimed in reference to the 34 votes that passed the bill. "How appropriate is that?"


He said planning for the ballpark would begin immediately.


"We finally are going to build a ballpark," he said. "We are going to play outside on grass the way it was meant to be."


The House passed it late Saturday night on a 71-61 vote.


The Twins bill allows Hennepin County to levy a new sales tax of 3 cents on a $20 purchase to pay for the Warehouse District ballpark and infrastructure. Although state law requires a local referendum vote on any new sales tax, the Twins tax is exempt from that requirement.


That was one of the reasons many opposed the measure.


"My constituents would like to be able to vote on this," said Sen. Linda Berglin, DFL-Minneapolis. And she warned her colleagues that their counties' residents might be the next on the block to have a new sales tax imposed without a chance to vote. "Once this passes, just wait ? you'll be the next one."


She and 23 other Senate members voted to send the bill back to the joint House-Senate conference committee that crafted it. But a majority voted to keep the measure alive at 4:30 a.m. Sunday morning. Sen. Julie Rosen, R-Fairmont, urged her colleagues not to vote against the Twins.


"To send this back for another round is the wrong thing to do. It will kill it," said Rosen, one of the 42 who voted not to send the bill back.


The Senate Sunday morning voted upon a very different stadium measure than it had passed earlier this month. That bill included a seven-county referendum for a new sales tax of 10 cents on a $20 purchase to finance a Twins stadium, a Vikings stadium and billions of dollars for transit.


Senators Sunday approved a measure that does away with the referendum, limits the new sales tax to Hennepin County, and does not fund transit.


That caused some consternation Sunday.


"I think the action regarding the referendum and the transit piece were sly?and I'm extremely disappointed," said Sen. Satveer Chaudhary, DFL-Fridley.


The Twins package does make a nod to the Vikings bid for a stadium but doesn't grant them a full legislative go ahead. Instead, it says that the Legislature may act more fully on the football team's bid in the future and gives Anoka County, the chosen site for a new Vikings stadium, the same exemption from sales taxes Hennepin County received to build the Twins stadium.


The Vikings had worked hard for full stadium building rights this year and even brought National Football League Commissioner Paul Tagliabue to the Capitol to lobby lawmakers. Tagliabue dangled the possibility of another Minnesota Super Bowl but lawmakers decided this was not the Vikings year.


For all the difficulty stadium debates have entailed over the last decade the one-hour Senate debate was fairly restrained. Senators were physically tired, having arrived at work 18 hours before their vote.


"It's time to do this," said Sen. Dick Day, the Republican Minority Leader of the vote. "For ten years (the Twins) have been coming to us and they've put together a really good package."


Rachel E. Stassen-Berger can be reached at [email protected]eerpress.com. Patrick Sweeney contributed to this report.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Selig enthusiastic about Twins ballpark

Commissioner says stadium will lend stability to Minnesota team

By Kelly Thesier / MLB.com


Twins president Dave St. Peter gives the thumbs up after the stadium bill was passed. (Jim Mone/AP Photo)


MILWAUKEE -- The smile spread wide across Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig's face on Sunday afternoon as he discussed the new Twins ballpark.


Having been a part of the fight for the club's new stadium over the last decade, Selig couldn't help but burst with the good news that it was finally going to become a reality. The plan for the ballpark was approved earlier Sunday morning by the Minnesota legislature.


"I can't tell you how happy I was today," Selig said of the news. "I'm happy for a lot of people."


The Commissioner said that he kept in constant contact with the Twins during the stadium process and even checked in on the results of the legislative vote until around midnight on Saturday. The good news of the stadium's approval finally broke to Selig at around 8 a.m. on Sunday. Speaking with the media during the early innings of the Twins-Brewers game at Miller Park later that afternoon, Selig said he was only on hand at the game to help commemorate the big day for the Twins.


Selig commended Twins Sports Inc. president Jerry Bell on his "courageous" battle to help get a new stadium. Selig wanted to make sure that all those involved in the long fight were praised for their efforts.


"Today is one of those wonderful days in life where patience paid off and we've done clearly the right thing," Selig said. "I feel good about the situation, as does the entire Twins organization."


Along with lauding all of the people who have helped bring the stadium into fruition, Selig also took an opportunity to criticize Minnesota's previous governor, Jesse Ventura, who he felt didn't do much to help the cause.


"[Current] Gov. Tim Pawlenty, whom I've talked with on a number of occasions, really did show great leadership here as opposed to what's gone on here in the past," Selig said. "I suppose I could take a swipe against the previous governor, but I won't. We had a deal done at one point and well, I think I've said all I need to say."


Not everything about the newest ballpark plan is completely ideal, as complaints have already popped up about the fact that the stadium will not have a roof. For Selig, the fact that the Twins will finally get the opportunity to move out of the Metrodome and into a real baseball stadium is what is truly important.


"Nothing is ever perfect," Selig said of the proposed plan. "Hey, they played in an open air stadium before and all that matters is that they have a stadium now they can live with."


But the biggest thrill for Selig out of the entire day was knowing that the Twins fans will finally get what they have wanted for so long -- guaranteed security for their ballclub.


"I know there was a lot of frustration and a lot of worry," Selig said of the fans. "It would have been heart-breaking to even think about doing anything to that team, but now, at least now for the next two generations, we don't have to."



Link to comment
Share on other sites



All-Star Game on the radar


Twins' new park a potential site, Selig says



Pioneer Press


Based on recent conversations between the governor and baseball Commissioner Bud Selig, the All-Star Game could be returning to Minnesota as soon as 2011 or 2012.


Brian McClung, spokesman for Gov. Tim Pawlenty, said Selig and Pawlenty most recently spoke Monday, when Selig called to thank state leaders for support of the bill that got final legislative approval in the wee hours Sunday.


The All-Star Game did not come up in that conversation, but the two spoke about it in previous conversations, McClung said.


"The commissioner told him he would encourage it if a new stadium was approved, and expressed confidence that we'd have a pretty good shot at it," McClung said.


With the new ballpark scheduled to open in 2010, that probably means 2011 or 2012, depending on what the American and National League rotation is at that point.


Baseball has scheduled All-Star Game sites through next year, with cities from the same league (the NL's Pittsburgh this year, San Francisco in '07) going back to back for the first time since 1961 and '62. Selig said last year that the 2008 game definitely would go to an AL team, and the New York Yankees are strongly rumored to be that team.


If the AL gets consecutive games, that could put the Twins on track to host the game the second or third year of the ballpark.


"I wouldn't bet on the first year. That's never a good idea," said Jerry Bell, the Twins' leader in the stadium fight as president of Twins Sports Inc. "You have the bugs to work out. I would bet 2011, 2012, right in there."


Minnesota has hosted two All-Star Games, at Metropolitan Stadium in 1965 and at the Metrodome in 1985.


Selig was unavailable for comment Tuesday, but eight of the past 11 All-Star Games have been held at stadiums less than 5 years old.


Pawlenty is scheduled to sign the stadium bill Friday in a 7:05 p.m. ceremony on the field at the Metrodome before the Twins' game against Seattle.


Also taking part in the ceremony will be Bell; Twins owner Carl Pohlad; four Hennepin County commissioners, including the funding plan's leader, Mike Opat; 14 members of the state Legislature; former Twins greats Harmon Killebrew, Rod Carew and Tony Oliva; and manager Ron Gardenhire.

Link to comment
Share on other sites



05/26/2006 9:40 PM ET

Gov. Pawlenty signs new ballpark bill

Twins hold special on-field ceremony to celebrate legislation

By Jason Brummond / MLB.com


MINNEAPOLIS -- Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty signed the Twins-Hennepin County new ballpark legislation in a special on-field ceremony before Friday night's game against the Mariners.


Pawlenty inked his signature at 7:22 p.m. CT, which prompted a standing ovation and officially ended the franchise's long wait for an outdoor stadium.


"Baseball has a way of bringing families together, and Minnesota is a family," Pawlenty told the Metrodome crowd. "Baseball memories happen from generation to generation, and a big part of why we're doing this tonight is to give the next generation memories."


Over the last decade of debate, Twins fans have dealt with talk of relocation and contraction. The bill, among other things, includes a 30-year, iron-clad lease that guarantees the team's future in Minnesota.


"We are preserving baseball for generations to come," said Twins Sports Inc. president Jerry Bell.


The new stadium will be located in the Warehouse District north of the Target Center, and it will be ready for the start of the 2010 season. The $522 million project -- $130 million of which will be paid by the club -- will fund the 42,000-seat, natural grass ballpark that has a view of the Minneapolis downtown skyline.


"Tonight, we start a fantastic journey to build the best ballpark in America," Hennepin County commissioner Mike Opat said.


Ground is scheduled to be broken in the fall of 2007, which will begin a transition back to an open-air venue for the Twins. The team played at open-air Met Stadium from the time it moved to Minnesota in 1961 until 1981. The Twins have played indoors at the Metrodome since 1982.


"It's been a long time coming," manger Ron Gardenhire said. "And it's very exciting to see the governor out here and sign a bill. I'd like to be over there when they have the first shovel digging in the ground with a hard hat on. That'd be a pretty good moment, too."


Seventeen former Twins players were at the ceremony, including Harmon Killebrew, Rod Carew and Tony Oliva.


Jason Brummond is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 months later...

This relocation threat is officially OFF the table....




Hennepin board gives final approval to tax hike for Twins stadium



Associated Press


MINNEAPOLIS - The Minnesota Twins brushed past the final formality in their quest for a new ballpark on Tuesday, as the Hennepin County Board approved a sales tax increase to pay most of the cost.


The 4-3 vote was expected, as none of the board members shifted from their earlier positions for or against the project.


"It's a giant step towards the completion of the process," said Jerry Bell, the Twins executive who has led the team's 11-year push for a new stadium.


The county levy will go up by 0.15 percent, which works out to an additional 3 cents on a $20 purchase.


Though Tuesday's outcome was expected, several protesters were on hand to vent their anger that it was done without a referendum.


Some carried signs with such slogans as "Make Carl Pohlad use his own money" and "Let US vote." Some wore T-shirts reading "No taxation without representation - except in Hennepin County."


Commissioners voted along gender lines, with Randy Johnson, Mark Stenglein, Mike Opat and Peter McLaughlin in favor and Penny Steele, Gail Dorfman and Linda Koblick against.


Koblick said the decision should have been left up to county voters, and called the tax the most divisive issue she's seen in 12 years in office.


"It's not about baseball," she said. "It's about money and greed and ego."


Johnson, the board chairman, said he views the stadium project as a service to county residents. "This can be a very cold, flat place on the prairie unless we make some public investments," Johnson said.


McLaughlin called the ballpark "the next generation" in making Hennepin County and Minneapolis "economically viable."


In May, the Legislature approved a financing plan for the $522 million stadium project. The sales tax increase will finance three-quarters of the stadium's cost. The Twins will pay $130 million and get all game-day revenue and in-stadium advertising proceeds. The team's annual revenue is estimated to grow by at least $40 million.


According to county forecasts, a married couple with two children and a $75,000 annual income would pay an estimated $30 per year in sales taxes for the stadium.


Barring any problems, the 42,000-seat ballpark is expected to be ready for the 2010 season. Twins officials anticipate breaking ground next year.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 months later...



Hennepin County's move to condemn land for the 40,000-seat stadium in downtown Minneapolis will go before a judge today for the first time. With preliminary work to begin in mid-March, and with the stadium projected to open in three years, the county has asked to be given title to the land as early as Jan. 30.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Minnesota Twins brushed past the final formality in their quest for a new ballpark on Tuesday, as the Hennepin County Board approved a sales tax increase to pay most of the cost.

What? The team doesn't make enough money to buy their own stadium? I know, let's let our overburdened lower and middle class citizens foot the bill. :thumbdown

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...