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Some St. Peter Answers

May 31, 2006 2:57 PM

After reading that Twins president Dave St. Peter was welcoming input from fans by email, I sent him a quick message. The mainstream media doesn't seem to be overly concerned with good ballpark design, content to cover mostly just the political and financial aspects of the project.

But I have questions and concerns (expressed extensively over at DTFC) about the design, and took the opportunity to go directly to the horse's mouth. I was a little bit surprised to receive a personal response within about an hour!

I decided to start with a few basic questions which had come up in the forums. Hoefully this can be the start of a direct conversation with the decision-makers.

RP: Has HOK been officially retained to design the park or will other architectural firms be considered?

DSP: While HOK has done all the conceptual design work, they have not been officially retained to do the final designs. The Twins will select an architect in coordination with a newly formed ballpark authority (to be named in the next 30 days).

RP: Is there someone on your staff whose job it will be to oversee the detail customization?

DSP: Yes, the Twins will appoint a "point" person on the project (in addition to employing an owners rep).

RP: How much of the preliminary design is already fixed? (For example, is the diamond orientation still up for discussion? The exterior facade? Outfield dimensions?)

DSP: Much of the design remains up for discussion. That being said, certain site constraints create limitations.

RP: How much input do you think the fans will be able to have in the design? Will there be some formal process for submitting ideas, or just informal communication?

DSP: Hennepin County will conduct three public hearings over the next 60-90 days. It's my sense that much of that time will focus on public input on the ballpark funding and design. The Twins welcome input from fans like yourself.

RP: Do you expect to be able to build over the railroad tracks?

DSP: Yes.

It is comforting to know that HOK will have to earn the contract. Of course, their extensive experience makes them almost a shoo-in to get this, and that is not a very comforting thought. From their recent projects (including the unfortunate Great American Ballpark), it's easy to see that they are only as good as their collaborators.

Conversely, this also means that if the Twins put together a good team on their side, this could turn out quite well even with HOK designing.

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Fortunately, a number of very good ballparks have been built in recent years, which will help with the final design.
Personally, I'd like to see a continuous eight foot high (between the foul poles), well padded, symetrical outfield fence, without the gold (or any other color)homerun band. Contrasting colors beyond the fence to help fans pick up the ball. Ten feet of foul space in those outfield corners. Four to five foot barriors everywhere else, with fans getting as close as possible to the action from all seating locations. Shorter rows, with the seats 20 to 22 inches wide, cup holders and leg/knee room for 6 footers (facing the pitchers mound).
Some fulltime quality local bar/restaurants, with seating (views of the field through the concourse), and a variety of foods all the time, not just on game day.
More, smaller restrooms, w/o the troughs, but with radio. Wide concourses.
A fullscale Twins merchandise/sporting goods store.
Escalators/elevators to the upper levels.
As much green (plants) as possible if there's no roof. Natural shade in the tailgating section.
Large, lit fountains (not fireworks) in any available outfield areas.
Color. Make it a visual feast for the eye. Large player profiles, past & present, baseball museum areas (including the Washington Senators), with team/player memoribilia. Lots of interactive activities for all ages.
Ditch the industrial warehouse lighting.
Many fans are older, so make things easy for them to navigate through the entire ballpark or have a senior section, along with the family section(s).

There's a ton of things, but I'm sure a lot of people have already mentioned them.

Posted on June 18, 2006 at 9:15 PM by Doug Thompson Highlight this comment 1

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Posted on April 6, 2013 at 4:21 PM by Rick 2

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