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Hennepin county in stadium running
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01/13/2004 7:01 PM ET
Hennepin county in stadium running
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As the discussion about a new Twins ballpark in Minnesota continues, talk can now also include Hennepin County.

By a 4-3 vote Tuesday, the county's commissioners passed a resolution to proceed with a proposal to finance a ballpark for the Twins. The likely location for the stadium would be at the Rapid Park in downtown Minneapolis.

Twins president Dave St. Peter is spreading the message for ballpark support on the club's Winter Caravan. He was pleased to hear the news from the Twin Cities on Tuesday evening.

"It's another step in the right direction," St. Peter said at the caravan stop in Grand Rapids, Minn. "We're appreciative of the leadership shown by the Hennepin County commissioners. It's another step in securing the long term competitiveness of the franchise."

When the Minnesota legislature approved a $330 million Twins ballpark funding proposal in 2002, Hennepin County was unable to participate because the bill signed into law by former Gov. Jesse Ventura prohibited counties from contributing to the financing. Since no city was able to make a proposal on its own, the ballpark funding failed to succeed.

Late in 2003, Gov. Tim Pawlenty appointed a 19-member Stadium Screening Committee to hear proposals for new facilities for the Twins, Vikings and University of Minnesota football. The deadline for a submittal from communities and developers is Jan. 15.

Before the screening committee last week, the Twins presented a plan for a 42,000 seat, retractable roof ballpark that will cost in the range of $430 million-$450 million.

Hennepin County and Minneapolis are expected to appear before the committee with a proposal that calls for a $120 million contribution from the Twins and $100 million from the state. The rest of the money would have to be raised by the county.

The Twins are supportive of the county's proposal, but remain neutral on a ballpark site.

"Most importantly, we believe that the proposal they're submitting is one that has a chance of succeeding," St. Peter said. "It's a workable plan from the team perspective. We'll see how the process continues."

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This report was not subject to the approval by Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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