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.
Plaza overview from the A ramp
Trees now line Seventh Street
Trees also have sprouted near the topiaries
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)
Looking back toward First Avenue
Looking from First Avenue toward the ballpark (over the top of a construction barricade)
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.)
A closer look into the park from down the street. How great will this view be during a game??
The scoreboard terminates the view on Fifth Street as seen from Hennepin
The scoreboard also towers over the LRT tracks, which now are functional (though not open) all the way to the park -- and beyond!
Here's a quick reminder of what the site looked like exactly one year ago today:
And how about exactly two years ago today:
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):
I offer these just to get you in the mood for some glamour shots I took over the past week.
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!
"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 3019 found on this site. Click the image to be taken to the original post. A new list is created every 10 minutes.
Looking up Fifth, with LRT tracks and B ramp at left
A seating bowl comes into focus. Note that the netting has been installed on the foul pole. (Field Box)
Do you need to know the score?
Touring the Rapid Park site (L-R: Commissioners Wade, Vekich, Sykora, Cramer, and tour guide Chuck Ballentine, source: RP)
The storage tunnel is barely visible at left behind that guy.
The rendering which excited a fan base! (Inset is an enlargement of the pictured neon sculpture.)
No, that's not Kent Hrbek. It's catcher Glenn Borgmann.
Yes, son, Memorial Stadium used to be right there, just beyond those gates.
July 7, 1966 (Click to see the entire scorecard with ads)
This is the trapezoid (for lack of a better name) in right center. Be sure to notice section of seats just below the pavilion and above the fence (which I hadn't noticed before). For those who are interested, what looks like an old-style scoreboard is in fact a high-def video board which will look, at times, like an old-fashioned scoreboard.
Click to enlarge. (Photo by Jared Wieseler)
Do you think somebody's already cooking hot dogs out there?
His body language might as well be the box score.
Up inside the circulation building. (That's the LRT platform visible through the windows.)
Legends Club fireplace (there are two)
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...
This opportunity is half a block up Third Avenue and thousands of people walk right by before and after games.
The wall of brands at General Mills headquarters in Golden Valley (Source: RP)
Larry DiVito, mowing
A closer look at the bridge and walls. You can see where the tracks will be laid.
This is the actual entrance for Gate 6. Notice how close the seating will be. The back row of the lower deck will be mere inches beyond that inner support post.
Looking up Sixth Street, now barricaded for plaza extension.
Sky through steel.
Compare this picture, from the open house in March, with the one above and you'll see that some furniture reconfiguration has taken place.