Ownership commended for park funding

Ownership commended for park funding

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins have already performed above and beyond at Target Field -- in ownership funding.

A resolution passed on Friday by the Minnesota Ballpark Authority recognized the team owner's additional $55 million contribution.

The 2006 ballpark funding law passed by the Legislature required the team to pay $130 million of the projected $480 million price tag, which includes public infrastructure upgrades. The team was also on the hook for any cost overruns.

"It is important to note that the amount of public money has not increased," said authority member Joan Campbell.

Team president Dave St. Peter said that the additional financial contribution has gone toward architectural enhancements and projects expected to further enhance the overall fan experience.

"We truly appreciate our ownership's willingness to go well beyond the original obligation to make this a truly great destination and an iconic ballpark," St. Peter said.

For example, the $22.5 million in ballpark enhancements include a fully clad and lighted roof canopy that will not only keep fans dry and in the shade, it will "make a stunning architectural piece of the ballpark," St. Peter said.

The final placement of structural steel for the canopy is to be completed by the end of this month.

The Minnesota Kasota Stone inside and outside the ballpark has been hand-set in an effort to enhance the park's beauty. The limestone used on the exterior is designed to look like exposed ledges along the shoreline of the Mississippi River.

"That premium finish will certainly be one of the signature aspects of this facility," St. Peter said.

To ensure that Target Field is one of the few ballparks to obtain LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification, some additional team contribution has been necessary. According to the U.S. Green Building Council, the certification "provides independent, third-party verification that a building project meets the highest green building and performance measures."

The enhanced fan experience will begin when visitors enter the ballpark, because the team and Target have each contributed an additional $4.5 million to enhance Target Plaza with a green-like park space that includes seating areas and art.

Other fan enhancements for which the team has paid extra include additional restrooms, a roof-deck gathering space that will be reminiscent of Wrigley Field in Chicago, radiant heat on the main concourse, high-definition monitors and other technology enhancements, and seat upgrades.

"These things have turned a good project into a great project," said Steve Cramer, the authority chairman.

Other construction and planning updates:

• The seat relocation process began on May 4, and the team is on pace to have 18,000 to 20,000 full season-ticket equivalents by Opening Day 2010.
• The bullpen and out-of-town scoreboards have been installed, and Daktronics continues to install ribbon-boards along the club level.
• The installation of the main scoreboard video panels has begun.
• Holes have begun to be drilled for seats, with installation to begin in about two weeks.
• Inspection of the field sod took place this week in Colorado.

"It looks absolutely fabulous," said Dan Mehls, a construction manager with Mortenson Construction. He said that harvesting should occur in late August, with the grass driven to the site in refrigerated trucks. "From the time it is cut to the time it is put in place will be about 36 hours."

Community participation goals for total project work hours are 25 percent minority workers and 5 percent female. In April, 28 percent of all workers were minorities and 7 percent were women, a 2 percent increase in both categories over March. Cumulative hours through April show 25 percent of project work hours were performed by minorities and 6 percent by women.

Mike Cook is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.