"It was a mighty fierce something cold out there today, let me tell ya!"
My great-grandmother might have said something like that. Her parents came over from Norway and were shipped all the way to South Dakota where they built a sod house and raised approximately 16 children (a few didn't make it, but I've never been completely clear on the math).
Days like today remind me of those hearty prairie people of my (and probably your) ancestry. What did they do when the temperature went so far down and the wind came so far up?
Did they put on heavy construction overalls, gloves and hard hats and continue building the ballpark? I just don't know. But a bunch of guys did today out behind Target Center. I walked across the 7th Street bridge to get a picture of the work going on over the tracks and nearly froze my nose. (Was it worth it?)
But the place was crawling with activity -- much of it taking place on the nascent plaza over the freeway.
A plaza is certainly starting to take shape.
But if you're confused by what it looks like now, join the club. Barring some unforeseen seismic activity that plaza is going to be a pretty hilly place. Or not. We probably don't have enough information. (Actually, read on and there's a partial answer in the model pictures below.)
Here's the detail of the plaza from the site plan published by the team last summer.
(Eagle-eyed Twinsfest goers would have noticed that updated diagrams were hanging in the ballpark booth. But I was so sure I'd be able to get them digitally that I didn't take any pictures of them. I won't make that mistake again because it hasn't worked out this time...)
I show this to give you an idea of where they might be going based on the early ideas of how it will connect to Second Avenue (assuming that it will not initially connect directly to First Avenue as was originally hoped).
At the intersection with Seventh Street, the plaza will wrap around the emergency exit stairs tower supporting that long skyway. It will replace the little sidewalk that is there now.
At the foot of Sixth Street (next to the B ramp), the plaza will go over the entrance to the B ramp then duck under the skyway, presumably arriving at the level where a sidewalk would be if there were one there now (it's been a lane of the exit ramp until now). It seems like steps may be required there, but I don't think that's in the plan. Here's a look at that area (the covered piers at left will support the plaza):
You can see in the diagram that there's an indication of a connection to the skyway, and I heard that they still plan to build some sort of staircase connecting the plaza to the B ramp, but I'm not sure exactly where. This is a pretty old drawing, so we can only learn so much from it.
Now to the model... As was pointed out below, the plaza on the model is completely flat. Or is it? Look closely here and you will see steps:
The main ticketing area beneath the restaurant.
In fact, it looks like the model does reflect a slope down, with some stone accents to delineate it for pedestrians. What other details have we all missed...? (Click any image to enlarge dramatically.)
First, an overview. The base of the plaza here will meet the base of Sixth Street at Second Avenue.
A skyway-level view down Seventh Street.
A look at Gate 34.
Banners on the parking ramp are a great touch. They help manage scale and turn a lemon into lemonade. On my way there today I passed the WCCO building and remembered how the Twins schedule used to be painted in giant form on the side of that building (which is no longer visible). Wouldn't that be a great thing to resurrect on the side of that ramp? A giant Twins schedule. I always thought that was cool.
Also warming things up are these planters.
They help create a psychological safe area along the plaza edge, and help you forget that cars are zipping by directly beneath you.
The Pro Shop.
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.
This area will supposedly show the Twins chronology. Will it stretch back to 1901?
The entrance at Gate 3.
Special guests in the trees!
Finally, I realized as I took this shot that you can actually now see concourse floor that we will all walk on one day on the way to or from a game. Imagine that.
"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.
The Puckett atrium fireplace is just barely visible at the far left.
Plaza extension reaches toward First Avenue
Bassett Creek's path through the ballpark site (Source: Minneapolis Public Library)
The Carew gate ticket windows have grown a small awning.
The first passengers are about to arrive, but the switch is set for the wrong track (those guys walked all the way out to correct it)
The proposed wooden screen covering the circulation ramp on Fifth Street (at left is the equivalent screen on Seventh Street).
Comerica Park main entrance: Tigers, bats, and much (maybe too much) more (Source: LP)
The scoreboard also towers over the LRT tracks, which now are functional (though not open) all the way to the park -- and beyond!
These are the footings for the staircase which will connect the plaza to the skyway.
The view out Gate 6 "Oliva".
Looking down what was Third Avenue, and will be a freeway entrance ramp beneath the outfield stands.
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.
Here we are waiting for the first train to arrive at the station (Nov 14).
I had to hold the camera as far over my head as I could to get this shot, in which the infield is finally visible. It's a spot made for your average Timberwolves player.
Fan number 3,030,673 came through this gate a few moments after I took this picture.
The spruced up triangle really doesn't show much connection with the ballpark.
A truck is leaving the HERC plant. Here you can see the proximity to the promenade. For the record, the truck drove right by me and I smelled nothing...
Mound from the other side
The gate has grown a row of sponsorship
I never think of Ron Jackson at all.
Detail of the train tunnels (click to view the entire drawing)
The old flour Gold Medal Flour Mill, located next to the new Guthrie theater (Source: RP)
Walkway sneak peek
Town Ball Tavern balcony
The heretofore unseen north facade (click to enlarge). Does it look like a ballpark? And what's with the bamboo?