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.
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.
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.
"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 3037 found on this site. Click the image to be taken to the original post. A new list is created every 10 minutes.
Walkway sneak peek
The 1963 team won 91 games! (Click to enlarge and see the names)
T is for Twins
Gate 6 Oliva, with the 573 Club looming large over it (I wonder how Tony feels about that)
Replays on the out-of-town scoreboard!
Looking up Sixth Street, now barricaded for plaza extension.
That's Noah and my brother, Chris, checking out the Loge Box amenities
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 bridge is Seventh Street.
Double plays will be turned here.
Stay warm while buying tickets.
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.
An arch under construction.
Click to see the whole, beautiful image. (Photo by Tyler Wycoff)
Doors directly to the concourse, and a view of the stands beyond
Look at all that blank space. Canvas! (What should go on those walls? A giant schedule perhaps?)
It's pretty easy to see right into the Twins dugout!
Here you can see the real beauty of the Seventh Street side, and get a solid sense of why the overall design really works. The building's purpose is clearly visible, there are numerous connections from inside to outside, scale is nicely mitigated, the stone is attractively used, materials are pleasantly mixed and truly complementary. It's just a winner in so many ways.
Click on this photo to see what it looked like on this spot 101 years ago (I'm not kidding)
The steel cage expands.
Sunday afternoon, WFTC-HD 720P
Storage tracks in the foreground.
Just lighted panels... *sigh*
Though there's nothing there now, you have to believe they'll find a way to add a party deck up there at some point.
Looking down what was Third Avenue, and will be a freeway entrance ramp beneath the outfield stands.
Champion's Club details (click to enlarge)
Stairs wrap around the skyway escape tower. A very nice finishing touch.
I could gaze at this streetscape all day. It isn't perfect, but as a model for Minneapolis, I love it. (Except the Biff, of course. Click to enlarge.)