23 May 2006

Feeling Minnesota

A good amount of incoming e-mail about the Twins' new ballpark plan prompted me to write something about it. Until yesterday, I hadn't found anything interesting about the "circa-1996" type of financing plan:
  • The Twins' share is $130 million, one-quarter of the current estimated cost.
  • A Hennepin County sales tax hike of 0.15% will fund the remainder.
  • The ballpark will be located in the "Warehouse District," across I-394 from Target Center and next to HERC, the local garbage burning plant.
  • Other development is expected occur around the ballpark in a village concept called "Twinsville."
  • The $522 million total does not include a retractable roof. Such a roof could cost upwards of $100 million extra.
The lack of a roof brings to mind repeatedly cold Marches every season, though the novelty of outdoor baseball (not seen since the Met closed almost 25 years ago) should bring out plentiful crowds for at least the first few years. An interesting solution for the cold may come from HERC, which generates large amounts of heat when operating. There may be a way to pipe hot water from HERC into the stadium for heating the concrete seating risers. As heat is transferred, the water is cooled and returned to HERC to be reused. Building such a complicated system into the stadium design could prove quite costly, but it's an idea worth tossing around at the very least.

I figured the roof would be one of those "oh well, can't do anything about it now" signs of resignation, but it looks like the ballpark site's proximity to HERC may end up being a sort of double-edged sword. The site happens to be downwind from HERC. That prompted a smell study to understand if exhaust emanating during the summer months would cause problems. While the results of the study appeared to indicate that smell shouldn't be a problem, proof will come when games are actually played there. This bears a similarity to Fremont's Pacific Commons, where the ballpark is situated a couple of miles east (downwind) of the local garbage dump. I've eaten lunch around Pacific Commons many times and haven't smelled the dump myself, but I admittedly don't have a very sensitive nose.


Anonymous said...

Good for you Minnesota! Looks like you'll get your gorgeous downtown ballpark...and won't have to worry about neighbors crying about noise, traffic, and parking (Like some "small town" located 50 miles south of San Francisco)! I guess life's a lot easier when the Chi Cubs aren't claiming territorial rights to the Minneapolis "Warehouse District."

sanpabbpark said...

Candlestick had a heating system like what they're talking about in Minnisota built into it,but it never worked right.
I have been to Minneapolis,and have walked around the area where the park is going to be.It's not too bad a location,should work out all right.

Jeff said...

With the forthcoming new ballpark for the Twins and both New York teams slated to recieve new digs in the near future, exactly how many teams now have parks newer than 15 years? If the A's and the aforementioned teams are successful in getting new ballparks, it would seem that only the Cubs, Dodgers, and the Red Sox would have parks older than 20 years. Quite an accomplishment on Selig's part. In fact, it would seem to be unprecedented in sporting history. Who would have imagined that 20 plus teams would have brand new parks 20 years ago? The Angels still play in a fairly old park, but wasn't it recently re-modeled? Wolfe has an opportunity to do something truly unique with the A's....something that will stand out from the pack for the next couple of generations. The best for last?