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August 4, 2007 Click here to mail this page to a friend.
Ignoring Clint Eastwood's advice in "Dirty Harry" that opinions, like certain body parts, are best kept to yourself.

The New Twins Stadium

Out of respect for the families and victims of last week's tragic bridge collapse in Minneapolis, the Minnesota Twins have delayed the groundbreaking ceremony for a new outdoor stadium that could eventually cost taxpayers up to $1 billion.

The Twins organization has been beating on the legislative door for years, trying to get funding for a new stadium. Now, with the support of Hennepin County (downtown Minneapolis and surrounding area) the team has finally gotten what they wanted, a new place to do business, with someone else paying for it. Nothing new about that, every sports franchise has this deal, but even the most hardened sports fan must realize that if building a stadium was such a good financial deal, the owners and multi-millionaire players would be stepping over themselves to invest in the project. They are not.

The present Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome was funded with a bond issue supported by increased sales taxes in the Twin City area. No, the increase wasn't on everything for everybody. Employing the philosophy that fun should be paid for by others, visitors to Minneapolis were subjected to additional taxes on car rental, hotel rooms, and meals and drinks in local restaurants. So, over the years, a lot of the present Metrodome cost wound-up on salesman expense account reports.

That increased sales tax continues, and now residents of Hennepin County will have to consider dealing with increases in property and other taxes to make this deal work. All of this necessary, they say, to keep the Twins in Minnesota.

There is no doubt that baseball brings intangible benefits to the community, stirs local pride and encourages boys and dads to get out and do something together, sharing a few five dollar hotdogs and cokes while cheering for the home team. Nothing is more American than baseball, and we all know it, even those who don't want to buy billionaire Twins owner Carl Pohlad a new stadium.

The downtown location with heavy traffic and lack of parking is a concern to some, who would rather have seen the park built in a suburban location.When the present downtown stadium concept was being sold to the public years ago, those lobbying for the new stadium would say parking was not a problem, with "70,000 parking spaces within one-half mile of the proposed stadium location". What they didn't say was, most of those parking spaces already had a car on them.

From an economic standpoint, study after study around the country shows that building a stadium is either bad for the local economy, or does not create the jobs and benefits promised before construction began. Team owners, the players, and those employed by the facility, and hospitality businesses in the immediate area benefit, but other areas of the city may suffer. Fan expenditures for tickets, parking, souvenirs, and food and drink are not unlimited, and money spent at a Twins game is money unavailable the next day for other entertainment or recreational opportunities.

Whenever a team threatens to leave town, sports writers fret about the possible economic loss to the community. No one wants to see a team leave, but the loss suffered is mostly intangible. With the team gone, you'd have to watch them on television, in a far-away city with a new name on the jersey. Economically, however, not much would to happen, provided something can be done with the empty facility. Sports fans would still manage to spend every dime until payday, when bank accounts are reloaded, and then more would be spent. Those baseball dollars always wind-up somewhere.

The stadium will be built, and the Twins will stay, but maybe baseball fans should remember to spend some of the money at St. Paul's Midway Stadium, where the St. Paul Saints entertain fans all summer for $4 bucks a ticket, and parking is free. What a deal.

Global Air Aviation Referral Service

I welcome responses, and will be glad to post them here. Email your remarks to

Minnesota House Of Representatives H.F.No.2480, 6th Engrossment - 84th Legislative Session (2005-2006) Posted on May 21, 2006

But, will it really bring the jobs and economic boost to the local community that the developers are promising? I have to agree with you Ron, Probably not.

Here's what is written into the bill by the Minnesota House Of Representatives H.F.No.2480, 6th Engrossment - 84th Legislative Session (2005-2006) Posted on May 21, 2006 5.20 Sec. 9. [473.754] EMPLOYEES AND VENDORS. 5.21

(a) The Minnesota Ballpark Authority shall make good faith efforts to have 5.22 entry-level middle management and upper management staffed by minority and female 5.23 employees. The authority shall also make best efforts to employ women and members 5.24 of minority communities. The authority shall make good faith efforts to utilize minority 5.25 and female-owned businesses in Hennepin County. Best efforts shall be made to use 5.26 vendors of goods and services provided by minority and female-owned businesses from 5.27 Hennepin County. 5.28
(b) The authority shall contract with an employment assistance firm, preferably 5.29 minority owned, to create an employment program to recruit, hire, and retain minorities 5.30 for the stadium facility. The authority shall hold a job fair and recruit and advertise at 5.31 Minneapolis Urban League, Sabathani, American Indian OIC, Youthbuild organizations, 5.32 and other such organizations. 5.33
(c) The authority shall report the efforts made in paragraphs (a) and (b) to the 5.34 attorney general.

So, again, they want to spend 1 billion dollars to make the rich richer and step on the backs of the taxpayers. I guess the winner is Carl Pohlad, and maybe some part time worker minorities, and all those in charge of the project who will line their pockets with the payoffs.

Jim I. - Minnesota
Ron: Surprise, surprise! I am with you on this one. Even though the state does benefit significantly from income taxes on professional sports, it is hard to swallow the gift of a stadium to a bunch of multi-millionaires. Carl Pohlad isn't the only one. And now we have to build a new bridge for the fans to get there.

The Neurotic Norwegian
Hey Ron, Great article, All I have to say is: Go Twins and take the Vikings with you!

Billy from Minnesota.

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