April 10, 2007

Ballpark Update

This is Breaking News on the new ballpark deal. I'll have more on this later tonight, or in the coming days. For now, here is the story.

Twins Baseball

The Hennepin County Board today approved a resolution amending its
principles of agreement with the Minnesota Twins organization, laying the
groundwork for acquisition of land and timely construction of the new Twins
ballpark in downtown Minneapolis.

The vote was four to two with Commissioners Mike Opat, Mark Stenglein,
Gail Dorfman and Randy Johnson voting in favor, and Commissioners Linda Koblick
and Penny Steele voting no. Commissioner Peter McLaughlin was absent.

The board's action officially authorized the county to acquire the
eight-acre ballpark site near the Target Center through "quick take"
condemnation once agreements with the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad have
been finalized. The county's negotiations over the price of the property with
the landowners reached an impasse earlier this year.

The authorization allows the county to deposit $13.35 million -- the
amount the county offered to pay the landowners for the property -- with the
court and get title to the land through a process called "quick take." A
court-appointed panel will ultimately determine the fair market price of the
land.

Under the 2006 state law authorizing the Twins/Hennepin County ballpark
project, the county's share of financing the 40,000-seat, outdoor ballpark is
$350 million for construction and infrastructure, while the Twins are
contributing $130 million. The law further states that the county can use only
$90 million for land acquisition and ballpark infrastructure, such as bridges,
roads and walkways.

"This sets the stage for initial construction work to begin," said
Commissioner Opat, the board's lead ballpark negotiator. "The county could start
clearing the asphalt on the property within the next few weeks. We're anxious to
begin working with the Twins on building one of the great urban ballparks in
America. This ballpark will not only be a great baseball venue. It will be a
great public asset for Minnesota."

The ballpark is scheduled to open in April 2010.

Ballpark design unveiling set for Thursday
The Minnesota Twins will officially present the final design of the
ballpark to the County Board at 11 a.m. Thursday, April 12, in the County Board
Room on the 24th Floor of the Hennepin County Government Center.

Members of the new Minnesota Ballpark Authority, which ultimately will
own the ballpark, and the Minneapolis City Council also have been invited.

The briefing will be followed by a 12 p.m. news conference, featuring
officials from the county, Twins, Ballpark Authority and project architects, on
the skyway level (Public Service Level) of the Government Center.

The public is invited to view the ballpark design at an open house on
the Government Center skyway level from 12:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday.