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Plaza Trees

August 21, 2009 3:03 AM

Over the past week I've been out quite a few times to get exterior shots. It's hard to take a bad picture of Target Field. Let me start tonight with a few glimpses of the recent plaza improvements.

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Plaza overview from the A ramp


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Trees now line Seventh Street


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Trees also have sprouted near the topiaries


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ATM-style ticket machines have appeared beneath the steps to the B ramp (you can also enter the B ramp directly by walking past the ticket machines)


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Looking back toward First Avenue


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Looking from First Avenue toward the ballpark (over the top of a construction barricade)


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This is where the plaza meets First Avenue

One cannot help but notice that there appears to be no base for the old Met Stadium flag pole at this corner (as was originally announced). It's hard to say what this absence means, but here's hoping it's just coming in a later construction phase. I know that there is still work happening on getting it included, and it's been surprisingly complicated.

For the record, I'm not worried. (For the benefit of new readers, including the old pole in the new park somehow was my idea.) Lots of things in this project have been built, then redesigned, dismantled and built again. It seems like nothing is ever really set in stone because new ideas -- or problems -- keep coming up and the team wants to jump on them. They just send out the jack hammers...

Be sure and notice that there will be a regular sidewalk at street level running next to the plaza extension. This is an essential part of the streetscape since it allows pedestrians to get around Target Center without entering the plaza.

Fencing Up the Streets

Next, I noticed that there is work going on across Seventh Street, adjacent to the A ramp. It turns out that they are removing the existing, ugly chain link fencing and replacing it with the same stuff used across the street on the plaza! It's an amazing way to start tying the whole neighborhood together.

Something similar is happening on Second Avenue:

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Work in progress to improve the streetscape on Second Avenue

You may recall that Second, which is currently a one-way street, will soon be converted to a two-way street. The improvements happening now are the start of that, but additional upgrades there between Second and the freeway will include a retaining wall, and a bike parking area which will also feature the same fencing as the plaza.

At the bottom of that image you can see a circle of concrete. I believe this will be the base for a bronze statue of one of the Twins greats. Since the Killebrew gate is directly down that walkway, my money would be on his statue going right here.

One more important addition to the circulation plan is that the stair tower which you see there, currently an emergency exit only, will be converted to a skyway entrance. That creates a very important additional connection to the skyway system on this side and takes a lot of pressure off the others.

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Walkway construction is progressing

The above walkway (one of the other skyway connections from this side) is much more complicated than it may at first appear.

It will be open 24/7, and it will be completely handicapped-accessible (an elevator will open to the street), but entry into the ballpark proper will be controlled because this connects to the Club level, an area which is not open to all ticket holders.

Some of this is yet to be worked out, and I have not got all the details. But it's something of a large project all unto itself.

Terminations

A couple of hours after yesterday's tornado (which struck about a mile from my house!), I was downtown on business with a few minutes to spare. I'd noticed the day before that the views down Sixth and Fifth Streets toward the park have now gotten quite interesting. So I wandered around in the streets a bit for a couple of shots.

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A view into the park down Sixth Street from just beyond Hennepin. Note that one side of the street contains century-old, classic buildings -- structures which are likely to last another century or more. The other side, not so much. (Click the image to see what it looked like from exactly the same spot 97 years ago.)


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A closer look into the park from down the street. How great will this view be during a game??


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


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The scoreboard also towers over the LRT tracks, which now are functional (though not open) all the way to the park -- and beyond!

Glamour Shots

Here's a quick reminder of what the site looked like exactly one year ago today:

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And how about exactly two years ago today:

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

And, just for fun, how about three years ago (give or take a couple of weeks):

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I offer these just to get you in the mood for some glamour shots I took over the past week.

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Timing

Earlier this summer Victoria and I scheduled our vacation for next week. With two small kids (who are staying home with a grandmother) such plans have to be made well in advance and are, once set, nearly impossible to change.

Unfortunately, it looks like our timing means that I'm going to miss the first grass installation, assuming that it happens as scheduled on Monday night at 10:00 PM (and it's hard to imagine them missing that schedule given everything that has had to go into it).

No doubt this will elicit a ton of coverage in the mainstream media. So be on the lookout! (Though you probably won't be able to escape it.)

But before I leave, I plan to have a major spread on TCF Bank Stadium when I get home from the Maroon vs. Gold scrimmage on Saturday!

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Comments


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Epic posting Rick. Well done!

Posted on August 21, 2009 at 07:12 AM by DeePee Highlight this comment 1

Its too bad you're going to be gone for the grass installation...

Posted on August 21, 2009 at 07:38 AM by Deenels Highlight this comment 2

Very well done. I especially like to see the past and present comparisons. It really gives a great perspective on how things change over time.

Posted on August 21, 2009 at 07:46 AM by Jared Highlight this comment 3

excellent post as always, Rick.

quick question - do you know if there will be a staircase connecting 2nd Ave up to the plaza on the corner of of 2nd and 6th St? This would be pretty much under the skyway. I've seen in some of the older renderings, but I can't tell if they're working on it or it has been scrapped.

Posted on August 21, 2009 at 08:25 AM by some guy Highlight this comment 4

Will they be doing this (grass Installation) under the lights?

Posted on August 21, 2009 at 08:31 AM by dave Highlight this comment 5

agreed jared the old picture is really interesting seeing the change, i like it, great post rick

Posted on August 21, 2009 at 08:48 AM by The Sooj Highlight this comment 6

Great pics, Rick!

Posted on August 21, 2009 at 09:12 AM by OG Jeff Highlight this comment 7

this was one of the best posts ever. the last photo captures the essence of tf in relation to the skyline: it sparkles like a subtle string of diamonds on the hottest girl ever.

Posted on August 21, 2009 at 09:19 AM by yeahklye Highlight this comment 8

Every time I walk around the park, it always strikes me just how small it appears. I'm sure it has something to do with the fact that it was built in the pit of Rapid Park, but it doesn't stick out as much as I thought it would, especially looking back to that one year ago picture.

Posted on August 21, 2009 at 09:31 AM by Chad Highlight this comment 9

Bravo Rick - also enjoyed that last picture.

I'm sure there's a good reason, but I wonder why they didn't make the plaza extension along 6th street next to the Target Center a little wider. Looks like there's a good 5-6 feet before the street curb. Perhaps they need to keep a street-level sidewalk right next to 6th. Just curious.

Posted on August 21, 2009 at 10:30 AM by Expectorate Highlight this comment 10

some guy,

The same staircase which is already there (just around the corner) will remain. It allows access to the walkway behind Target Center, and there is a skyway entrance through TC right there.

It's quite a complicated little corner, hard to describe in words.

Posted on August 21, 2009 at 10:41 AM by Rick 11

As far as installing under the lights I believe on the construction schedule on the website it says that the lights will be tested this fall. I am going to the boundary waters next week. It's going to be crazy to see the progress when I get back.

Posted on August 21, 2009 at 10:50 AM by ManBearPig Highlight this comment 12

so from street level on 2nd Ave near 6th, you can get up to the plaza? ...you're right, it's hard to describe in words

Posted on August 21, 2009 at 10:55 AM by some guy Highlight this comment 13

Up in the image of Second Street on this page you can see a staircase going up into the walkway behind Target Center from the south. There is an equivalent staircase coming down onto the corner of Sixth and Second at the north end of that walkway.

Inside the walkway there is a door which leads up one level to the skyway. Much of the time it is open only from the inside, but they can unlock it for games.

At about the same spot is a connection directly to the plaza. Maybe this picture will help a little (the staircase I'm talking about is just barely visible at the far left):

Incidentally, I took this picture in a failed attempt to match another historic photo. I'll have to try again...

Posted on August 21, 2009 at 11:05 AM by Rick 14

Rick: Well done on this update. The natives appetite for Target Field pics/analysis has been satisfied for the time being. Where are you going on vacation? I'll be at TCF on Saturday as well. It'd be a pleasure to meet you.

Posted on August 21, 2009 at 11:11 AM by Max Highlight this comment 15

Thank you for the update Rick.

Is it still confirmed that they will install flower beds on top of the outfield walls similar to Busch Stadium?

Posted on August 21, 2009 at 11:16 AM by Lafferty Highlight this comment 16

I added a 3-year-old shot up in the article which I couldn't find last night.

Posted on August 21, 2009 at 11:18 AM by Rick 17

I saw those flower beds with my own eyes on my most recent tour.

Posted on August 21, 2009 at 11:18 AM by Rick 18

This is a repeat form previous forum, that got in late.

I'll be in Kansas City Saturday to take in the 6:10 game between the Royals and Twins at Kaufmann Stadium. If any of you are going and looking for something to do after the game, my band The Magnolias are playing at a club called Davey's Uptown around midnight. If you go, make sure to say hello !! Hope to see you there !!

Posted on August 21, 2009 at 11:21 AM by JohnF Highlight this comment 19

JohnF,

Do you have the ability to take and send photos from your phone during the game? If so, I'll make it possible for you to update us in real time...

Posted on August 21, 2009 at 11:25 AM by Rick 20

cool, Rick. you're the best

Posted on August 21, 2009 at 11:37 AM by some guy Highlight this comment 21

Max,

I'm afraid that my schedule for Saturday (arrival/departure time) is something of a moving target right now. As I get it nailed down, I'll post here and maybe we can figure out a time and place.

Posted on August 21, 2009 at 11:49 AM by Rick 22

Anybody else see this?

Posted on August 21, 2009 at 12:00 PM by Steeks Highlight this comment 23

With these new plaza photos I'm wondering where and if there will be bands playing for pre-game events as they do now at the dome. And where would the radio and tv talkers set up? By the way - great job as usual Rick!!!

Posted on August 21, 2009 at 12:18 PM by Tommy Highlight this comment 24

Thanks for that link. Nice article and awesome photos, particularly the overhead shots. I'm psyched for the grass install next week. The park is a gem.

Posted on August 21, 2009 at 12:19 PM by tim Highlight this comment 25

Here are a couple tibits I read over at ballparkauthority.com Click my name for the complete August Monthly Project Status.

Swanson & Youngdale will be painting the new 6th Street Pedestrian Bridge next to Target Center.

Locker installation has begun in the Twins clubhouse.

Craig David has mobilized and begun installation of the "transit" artwork panel.

Burn-in and aiming for lights is scheduled for late September

Bowl facing glass installation continues and is to be completed in late August/early September

Posted on August 21, 2009 at 12:50 PM by Jeff Highlight this comment 26

I too was wondering about where the Met flagpole will reside and when it's due to show up if at all.

Seems to me it would be entirely possible to restore it to it's original height by welding up the bottom to allow for proper installation. I bet someone knows the original height or could calculate it based on photos or other data.

Thanks Rick!

Posted on August 21, 2009 at 12:56 PM by MarkW Highlight this comment 27

Awesome Rick!

Anyone know how they are going to handle the separation between the plaza and the sidewalk over there by 1st? The plaza goes up, the sidewalk goes down. What's in the middle? Bums? Trolls? Catacombs?

Posted on August 21, 2009 at 1:02 PM by Dale Highlight this comment 28

Very interesting to read the progress report from the BPA - thanks for the link. Cool SI.com article as well; looking at the picture of the 'overhang' in right - I didn't realize that it gradually 'hangs over' more and more as you progress toward center.

Can't wait to see this place in person.

Posted on August 21, 2009 at 1:24 PM by Expectorate Highlight this comment 29

Oh sure. SI has helicopter shots. Well, I can't beat that.

Must be nice to have a big budget. Or ANY budget.

Posted on August 21, 2009 at 1:40 PM by Rick 30

That first pic on the SI collage is just beautiful. The colors of the limestone, the canopy, the outfield seating. Just awesome (and that doesn't include the skyline AT ALL!).

Posted on August 21, 2009 at 1:50 PM by ajndsu Highlight this comment 31

Thanks Rick!

Could you talk a little about proposed development (if any) north of the stadium along 5th & 7th?

The benefits south, being so close to downtown are evident. But north of the stadium is less than picturesque...HERC, old warehouses, etc. Are there plans for bars/restaurants/hotels?

Also, I heard rumors that Hennepin County would eventually like to move HERC. Have you heard that? If that would happen, the Twins would have a wonderful piece of land to develop!

Posted on August 21, 2009 at 2:07 PM by DreDogg Highlight this comment 32

Rick, I hope you don't mind, I took the liberty of "squirrelizing" one of your images. Click link.

Posted on August 21, 2009 at 2:23 PM by some guy Highlight this comment 33

Rick -- I am in awe. Thanks for a wonderful post and pictures.

Posted on August 21, 2009 at 2:38 PM by Dave T Highlight this comment 34

some guy- quit being a dinosaur and get a real job!

Posted on August 21, 2009 at 2:53 PM by Favrah Highlight this comment 35

lol - believe it or not, I'm working right now.

Posted on August 21, 2009 at 2:56 PM by some guy Highlight this comment 36

hey winona mike - green bay tv stations to carry 8 vikings games this year (click on my name for story).........i guess wisconsin is becoming vikings country. tell your brother!

all in good fun. ;-)

beta

Posted on August 21, 2009 at 3:36 PM by Betaband Highlight this comment 37

I still cringe whenever I see Hrbek mentioned alongside the numbers of the superstars the Twins have retired. It's like one of those "Which One Doesn't Belong" puzzles we did as kids. What a joke.

Posted on August 21, 2009 at 3:43 PM by Badjuggler Highlight this comment 38

It's the "local boy" precedent. The next one will be more deserving.

Posted on August 21, 2009 at 4:08 PM by B.W. McEvers Highlight this comment 39

Hrbek's performances in the two World Series more than justify his retired jersey number, and to minimize his regular season's accompliments (one of the best defensive 1st baseman alltime, let alone his offensive stats)is just not right.

Posted on August 21, 2009 at 4:12 PM by hans Highlight this comment 40

Hrbek performed rather poorly in both World Series. And although the Twins did have one of the greatest defensive first basemen of all time, that guy's name was Vic Power.

Posted on August 21, 2009 at 4:30 PM by The Legacy Highlight this comment 41

The retirement of Kent Hrbek's jersey in 1995 was a cynical move in the aftermath of the strike to boost attendance and curry public favor when the team was lousy and the local fans were extremely bitter. Hrbek was good, at times very good and great, but didn't deserve to have his jersey retired.

Posted on August 21, 2009 at 4:39 PM by Jorge Highlight this comment 42

gimme a break. what's with all the Hrbek hate? what kind of Twins fan rips on a guy with two World Series rings? find a different topic

Posted on August 21, 2009 at 5:09 PM by some guy Highlight this comment 43

hmmm - no mention of LEED certification progress in the BPA report. previous reports have stated things like, "LEED certification being pursued . . . "

Posted on August 21, 2009 at 5:10 PM by nick Highlight this comment 44

I was down by TF yesterday on my way to Epic for an event at 6pm. I took some shots on my phone, I'll try to get them on Slide or something (or Flickr) eventually...

Posted on August 21, 2009 at 5:11 PM by luke Highlight this comment 45

Cool updated pictures on the ballpark authority website!

Posted on August 21, 2009 at 5:22 PM by firedog Highlight this comment 46

try this

Posted on August 21, 2009 at 5:29 PM by firedog Highlight this comment 47

firedog,
All I see is the old one from June...is there a newer one that I'm missing?

Posted on August 21, 2009 at 5:35 PM by kevin in az Highlight this comment 48

oops, nevermind...i figured it out...nice slide show indeed.

Posted on August 21, 2009 at 5:39 PM by kevin in az Highlight this comment 49

Thanks firedog. The best shot was the last one, the pan across the entire field, from behind home plate.

Posted on August 21, 2009 at 6:31 PM by luke Highlight this comment 50

I can't wait till next months update when all the sod is installed and more seats, the park will almost look game ready.

Posted on August 21, 2009 at 6:51 PM by firedog Highlight this comment 51

Here's the direct link to the slide show. Not sure why they have such complicated URLs. Probably something from the content management system...

Posted on August 21, 2009 at 7:06 PM by Rick 52

Rick,

Yes, it's a result of the CMS (I used to work for the company that does the BA's site)

Posted on August 21, 2009 at 7:16 PM by CJ Highlight this comment 53

Looking at the wall right behind homeplate - it looks like the decorative limestone only extends about half-way around, the half closest to the Twins dugout is still bare concrete. Maybe they're going to finish this after the sod is installed, but I wonder if they've earmarked this space for ad boards, kind of like what I'm seeing behind homeplate at Kaufmann tonight.

Posted on August 21, 2009 at 7:44 PM by Expectorate Highlight this comment 54

This is my first shot at it, so I hope they work. Click my name for a link to a Flickr set of some shots I took yesterday.

Posted on August 21, 2009 at 8:24 PM by luke Highlight this comment 55

One thing I noticed on the MBA picture of the louvers on 5th street...there is graffiti on one of the concrete blocks in the middle of the road...not much but future problem?

Posted on August 21, 2009 at 11:36 PM by BB Highlight this comment 56

My beef with Hrbek stems from him being out of shape and constantly getting hurt while using his lack of conditioning as almost a badge of honor instead of seeing how it hurt both himself and the Twins. It also irked me that he largely got pass from the fans for this behavior due to being a local guy and a "character". He also hit into an inning ending double play with the bases loaded in the 8th during game 7 against the Braves in 1991. I've never been madder at a ballplayer than at that moment.

By the way, they sold the Dome Dog as a hot dog only minus the chips at the Vikes game tonight without lowering the price. To say folks were upset is an understatement. The explanation was this applies to Vikings games only, but no one knew exactly why the change was made.

Posted on August 22, 2009 at 12:31 AM by Jorge Highlight this comment 57

I thought the Vikings that controlled the concessions...Maybe that has changed and the MSFC is in charge now. I just remember sitting in a suite during a Twins game and the catering company was operated by the Vikings...maybe they just do suite concessions...I don't know. All I know is the concessions at the Dome SUCK!

Posted on August 22, 2009 at 02:08 AM by kevin in az Highlight this comment 58

Hoping that one of the other Colorado folks can get up to Graff's and get pictures of the sod/trucks. Because of a recent surgery, I can't drive at the moment :(

Posted on August 22, 2009 at 02:35 AM by jfh Highlight this comment 59

"He (Hrbek) also hit into an inning ending double play with the bases loaded in the 8th during game 7 against the Braves in 1991. I've never been madder at a ballplayer than at that moment."

I'd have been madder still if Hrbek had hit into a 'Series Ending' double play. Thank goodness he didn't, and whether he's retired-number material or not, I'll always remember his grand slam during the '87 World Series. I also am one of those who believe he did nothing wrong other than to maintain the tag on the wrestling play at first in the '91 series. The announcers were saying that he lifted the runner's leg high enough for him to lose balance, but it looked to me like herbie was just maintaining the tag.

Posted on August 22, 2009 at 10:12 AM by Winona Mike Highlight this comment 60


This page was last modified on August 22, 2009.



"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.





That's Fifth Street (and a tattooed arm) in the foreground.



Let's be honest and say that this promenade, which will face the HERC plant, won't be the most exciting part of the streetscape. It has to be provided for circulation reasons, but there won't be much to see unless vendors and other attractions take root here.



The limestone now wraps around onto the HERC side.






This view, from the Minnekahda building (or possibly a predecessor), looks toward the right field corner. The City Market, at left, occupied the land where the B ramp and Target Plaza now stand (over I-394). And the Overlook now juts out just a little beyond where that driveway enters the railyard.



Working on the connecting LRT tracks (this view looks up Fifth Street toward downtown.)



Target Plaza looking toward the grandstand






Photo by Tyler Wycoff






Since pictures of the ballpark are forbidden, perhaps you'll enjoy this shot of the lovely apple tree in my front yard.












Approach in the A ramp to the skywalk over Seventh



Opening Day 2008 (By Currier & Ives)



Rally Hanky (2002 ALCS)



From the Downtown Council's 2025 Plan, a Metrodome "Revelopment" and a strong indication of where they think a new Vikings stadium should go.















Which way to the skyway? Really??






The Fifth Street side is pretty busy. There's a small street entrance to the B ramp, then ticket booths and an entrance gate, a rare exterior section not covered in limestone, the wooden screen covering the circulation ramps, the administration building, and finally (just out of view) the interface with Northstar. All of that sits behind the LRT action. How pedestrians will interact with this side of the park is a great mystery to me. You know that Metro Transit won't be letting them cross the tracks anywhere but at either end of the block...






Look closely and you'll see limestone on the front of the press box!



The parking bay structure is now clearly visible



Click to enlarge.



A cross section of the field construction. (Click to enlarge.)



Installation in action (Home Plate Box)



The Fun Zone/Rescue Area in Oakland during the second inning















Wood-backed seats viewed through gate 6



Dan Kenney provided this alternate shot of a walkway behind the view level






A sharp-eyed reader caught me trying to make the best of a bad situation with my SP-570UZ on Sunday afternoon



Welding workers









Fabulous Fantasy



Red is old Yankee Stadium. This diagram comes from FieldOfSchemes.com



Another classic space in the making above the Hrbek gate.



Bassett Creek's original path (Source: Metropolitan Design Center)



At left, across the tracks by that pile of dirt is where the Northstar commuter train platform will be built, and where Twins fans will apparently NOT be able to get a train after night games. (For reference, that's the Fifth Street bridge, with the ballpark site just beyond it. The east corner of Ford Centre is just visible at the right edge of the picture.)





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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