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Meet the Ballpark Authority

June 22, 2006 1:25 AM

Joan Campbell

Joan Campbell

In the news this week, the city has appointed former City Council member Joan Campbell as their representative to the new Ballpark Authority. Yesterday, Hennepin County announced their two appointees: retiring Republican state representative Barb Sykora from Excelsior and the very-well-connected Steve Cramer, who is also a former City Council member.

Two more members will be named soon (probably tomorrow) by the governor.

Barb Sykora

Barb Sykora

The Ballpark Authority is something of an odd duck, being a political body and yet also a construction manager. You'll note that all of the appointees so far are politicians first, and not necessarily ballpark experts. But they have the authority to hire people to take care of the nitty gritty. The text of the law places no limits on how big their organization can be, just saying they have the authority to hire whomever it takes to get the job done.

And the job includes everything from buying the land, to negotiating contracts with entities as varied as the team, the construction companies and the various governmental bodies which will be involved. Eventually, they will be the official "owners" of the ballpark and responsible for its everyday operations.

But their first big task will be to hire an architect.

I asked Dave St. Peter about this process, wondering how they feel about having someone else -- a public body, no less -- deciding who will design their park. He seemed unconcerned, saying, "It's a public facility, and the public should have something to say about the design." He also noted that the Twins will have a liason to the authority and expect to have "something to say" about the architect, but are happy playing within the rules of the bill.

So I looked at the "rules of the bill" and found this odd clause, the purpose of which is a bit unclear:

The authority may contract for materials, supplies, and equipment ... except that the authority, with the consent of the county, may employ or contract with persons, firms, or corporations to perform one or more or all of the functions of architect, engineer, or construction manager with respect to all or any part of the ballpark and public infrastructure. Alternatively, at the request of the team and with the consent of the county, the authority shall authorize the team to provide for the design and construction of the ballpark and related public infrastructure, subject to terms of this act.

This sounds like the team could request control for themselves, and the county and Ballpark Authority could grant it if they want. One wonders if this isn't what will ultimately take place.

Anyway, it's too early to say much about the members of this committee. Biographical information is tough to come by. City Pages ran a fine story about Joan Campbell's departure from the City Council in 2001. Cramer is mentioned in passing in another City Pages story about Bassett Creek which, as I noted a couple of weeks ago, runs directly beneath the ballpark site. Cramer also can be found associated with many big development deals in the city when he worked as director of the MCDA. I can't find much of interest on Sykora beyond her official legislature page.

I will certainly try to contact all of them for initial thoughts about the project. In addition to being a Big Development Deal, my hope is that they realize this is also a ballpark -- that is, a building being built within a special culture. In that way it differs substantially from everything else they may have done.

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Joan Campbell was known as carrying labor's water during her time at City Hall. She is definitely friendly to the Construction Trades and is probably their "rep."

I think Barb Sykora could be considered an old school republican, more interested in fiscal conservancy and looking out for business interests than in conservative social issues such as school prayer, et al. She represents some pretty tony areas around Lake Minnetonka.

Steve Cramer has been a City Council member and headed the MCDA while the Heritage Park development deal was being negotiated. Also was the head of Project for Pride in Living -- a non-profit developer of affordable housing. Knows his way around a pro forma and development deals, well connected to the City. Good guy.

As for architect. It will be interesting how HOK fits in. They have been selected to do TCF Bank Stadium and are doing three very high profile ballparks out east: Washington Nationals, NY Mets, NY Yankees. Assuming their best talent will be working on those parks, do they have the horses to also work on the Twins ballpark?

Posted on June 22, 2006 at 09:06 AM by freealonzo Highlight this comment 1


This page was last modified on January 21, 2010.



"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 3045 found on this site. Click the image to be taken to the original post. A new list is created every 10 minutes.


Plaza signage



Up close, this is what you'll see as you walk along.






Photo by Tyler Wycoff



This would be a beautiful streetscape if there were ANY people.



Here's an idea of what these Loge Boxes are all about. That guy is a waiter with no fans to serve. They seemed to have one server for about every four boxes.



Detail of Entry Plaza #4 (north entry from Fifth Street)



Seventh Street circulation



Walkway construction is progressing



Boston



Looking back toward downtown from the end of the balcony



JohnW provides this shot of a construction barricade on First Avenue



A few weeks ago there were sand volleyball courts here. When the park opens, this will be surface parking. Maybe one day there will be something more interesting built on top of that parking...






The Polo Grounds (left) and Shibe Park (Connie Mack Stadium)






Camera mounts






Look beyond the gigantic hand (a hounds tooth jacket? really?) and you'll get a glimpse of the main grandstand configuration. The two (or is it three?) levels of suites are visible, as is the design of the so-called "split upper deck," and the extensive use of limestone for decorative accents. Let's hope these little touches don't get cut as costs increase, because they make a nice tie-in from the outside of the park to the inside. Of most interest to me is the way that the very best seats are physically separated from all the rest of the seats by that limestone. There will be virtually no way to sneak into these seats. On one level, that's a somewhat sad design feature...



Wind veil framing (from the inside)












Wanda's view!



They help create a psychological safe area along the plaza edge, and help you forget that cars are zipping by directly beneath you.












The dish!












What has been actually built so far is only a tiny subset of this vision.






The scoreboard terminates the view on Fifth Street as seen from Hennepin



End of the line.



An early concept for the pedestrial bridge. (Source: Ballpark Authority, RP)



Typical standing room crowd which started early and lasted the entire game.












Greatest spot in the city for cooking up some hot dogs. And would you kill for that grill?



Trains now rumble regularly beneath the promenade.



If you want, you can ask those folks how the game is going -- and even get a little bit of info from the big screen (Grandstand)






Section 237, Row 15 (top of the Trap)






Gate 34 Puckett



Not my actual kids!





Glossary

BPM - Ballpark Magic

BRT - Bus Rapid Transit

DSP - Dave St. Peter

FSE - Full Season Equivalent

FYS - Fake Yankee Stadium (see also: NYS)

HERC - Hennepin Energy Resource Company (aka the Garbage Burner)

HPB - Home Plate Box

HRP - Home Run Porch

LC - Legends Club

LRT - Light Rail Transit

MBA - Minnesota Ballpark Authority (will own Target Field)

MOA - Mall of America

MSFC - Minnesota Sports Facilities Commission (owns the Metrodome)

NYS - New Yankee Stadium

SRO - Standing Room Only

STH - Season Ticket Holder

TCFBS - TCF Bank Stadium

TF - Target Field

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