Finally, something interesting about our new ballpark site: it sits on top of a river!
OK, maybe 'river' is a strong word. It's actually Bassett Creek, and it runs directly beneath the Rapid Park lot. Maps differ on exactly where it flows, but all agree it goes through there somewhere on its way to the river.
Bassett Creek's original path (Source: Metropolitan Design Center)
Some history is in order. Bassett Creek begins at Medicine Lake, and is open to the air for most of its journey to the Mississippi River, including a large stretch which flows through Theodore Wirth Park.
In Minneapolis' early days, the creek flowed unchecked to the river, and this was a source of more or less constant problems as the area became more and more populated. Ultimately, it ran through heavily-populated residential areas. But it became something of an open sewer which had a tendency to flood easily and fill houses with all sorts of noxious debris.
Sometime early in the 20th century, a decision was made to divert the stream into a tunnel (actually two) so that the surrounding land could be developed. Ever since, the creek has continued to run and exit to the river through two culverts.
The north channel is the smaller of the two, and exits to the river just below the Plymouth Avenue bridge. This is the one which is actually visible to patrons of the Acme Comedy Club, located at 708 N 1st St. (There is a viewing area which actually looks down onto the running water!) It is also the channel which was brought back to the surface where it flows through the Sumner Fields rebuilding project.
Bassett Creek's path through the ballpark site (Source: Minneapolis Public Library)
The south channel is the main channel through which the bulk of the water still flows, and this is the channel beneath Rapid Park. How this complicates the building of a stadium is anybody's guess. I discovered it in one of the Urban Ballpark documents regarding the need for Environmental Impact Statements, so it must be well known to the people involved.
City Pages did a cover story history of the creek a few years ago when the Sumner Fields reconstruction began. They correctly note that people began to regret burying the creek almost as soon as the project was completed, and even today there are those who would love to see it returned to the surface where it would, no doubt, increase property values substantially.
How about a stream running past our outfield fence? Or maybe underneath the grandstand but visible through a glass floor. Far-fetched, perhaps, but just the type of amenity which could become a signature.
"You talk about the magic, the aura, but what really makes a stadium is the fans. Concrete doesn't talk back to you. Chairs don't talk back to you. It's the people who are there, day in, day out, that makes the place magic."
– Bernie Williams
Explore the Site
Here are 50 images chosen randomly from the 3019 found on this site. Click the image to be taken to the original post. A new list is created every 10 minutes.
Note that, even though the scoreboard appears strategically placed, it's the outfield stands which block any potential view of the field from this roof.
Detail of Entry Plaza #4 (north entry from Fifth Street)
Team pennant. (Click to enlarge.)
Emergency access as viewed from outside the ballpark
Greatest spot in the city for cooking up some hot dogs. And would you kill for that grill?
Justin Morneau, mobbed after a game-winning homer on June 9
The proposed wooden screen covering the circulation ramp on Fifth Street (at left is the equivalent screen on Seventh Street).
This is the back of the Cisco Field scoreboard, showing video to folks out on the plaza.
Section 125, Row 1
Looking across the top of the B parking ramp. Notice that signage will block any attempts at seeing the game from up there. Also take note of the glassed in area which is part club and part office space for the Ballpark Authority.
This is the Suite Level. There are multiple suites between each pillar, and there will be seating on the area in front of the suites which currently looks like it could be a walkway.
Two concepts here remain in the final design. First is the oddly-shaped pavilion in center. Second is the section just above the right field fence. In the current design this section will hang over the field by a few feet. The original doesn't do that, but you can see that the concept goes way back in the planning.
Gate 6 is quite large
These guys were there, but it wasn't any of you, right?
Puckett atrium menu part 2 (Those prices match elsewhere in the ballpark.)
The suite mock-up
Another piece of the neighborhood puzzle: the Northstar platform.
Installation in action (Home Plate Box)
Here's a closer look at the bullpen area. It's hard to tell for sure, but I think there is still an opening to the concourse right above.
The Target Center rooftop patio. Hardly glamorous, but a great view of the ballpark.
This looks south and shows how the Northstar tracks are sheltered by the promenade above. This is the side which faces the HERC plant.
"Hey, Ma, it says here we go in at gate 34. Must be all the way around on the other side!" Seriously, though, this is a really inspired idea.
This is the LRT bridge under construction as viewed from the east looking west. The ballpark facade would be at the left in this photo.
(Click to enlarge.)
TCF Bank Stadium (click to enlarge)
Gate 29 Carew (note the walkway above open to the street where you can shout down at your lost friends to tell them where to meet you)