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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

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This looks south and shows the track configuration for Northstar. The platform shown is just a placeholder. To the best of my knowledge, concept drawings for this platform have not been released. Keep in mind, this is NOT part of the ballpark project. It is completely separate.






Click to enlarge






A view from up (and in) the street.






From the roof of the Minnekahda building (courtesy Bruce Lambrecht).



An arch under construction.






The entrance from the service level corridor. (You have to pass the Twins clubhouse door to get there.)



Ketchup, mustard, relish, mustard, ketchup



The lights went on, and it was a Good Thing



I suppose that one day my son will graduate from Mrs. Fields to Hooters. At least he won't have to travel too far. *Shudder*



This isn't a very good picture, but it is the current view of the inside of a suite.









Noah is checking out the ample leg room and truly exemplary sight lines.



Yes, son, Memorial Stadium used to be right there, just beyond those gates.



The brown grass was left over from the first attempt at groundbreaking (canceled after the 35W bridge collapse)



Polo Grounds from the south









The view from our seats. I took this picture while standing, and the railing would prove mildly problematic when I sat down -- but not as much as my scorecard, which I always seemed to be holding right in Vic's view of the plate (she told me so).






The Pro Shop.



Work in progress.



Boston






Here's the view as you step to the front of the outer moat beyond first base.



One thing that the design disguises nicely is that the Pro Shop (and other key components) are actually built over lanes of freeway. That can clearly be seen here.



Oh, nevermind.



Puckett atrium chef stand menu






I know these are giants bats with hops growing inside, but... Hmm...



Outside, lots of window space









Missing: imagination.



The view from the upper concourse.



Detail on the main gate, with Target Field sign






Believe it or not, the actual outfield wall will be about where this fence is now!






Twins president Dave St. Peter presents his list of fan suggestions to the Ballpark Authority






The main ticketing area beneath the restaurant.



Cross section diagram of the field structure. (Click to enlarge.)



View from the Overlook








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BPM - Ballpark Magic

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FSE - Full Season Equivalent

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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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