24/7 Twins

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April 12, 2010 // UPDATED 9:25 am - April 12, 2010
By: Gregory J. Scott
Gregory J. Scott
// For those who live and work in the North Loop, Downtown baseball brings as much frustration as excitement //

It’s easy to get excited about Downtown baseball when you live in the suburbs. You can hop in your car and leave after the game. And you may not be back for another month or so. But what if you live next door to Target Field?

For area residents and businesses, the baseball barrage doesn’t end after the last out. There are 81 games scheduled at Target Field for the 2010 season. For those who live and work in the North Loop, that means 81 days guaranteed to attract a hoard of visitors to their neighborhood, for better or worse. We stopped several local people on the street to ask them about the joys and hassles of having Twins Territory in their backyard.

———

Joel Shapiro
President, Shapco Printing Inc.
524 N. 5th St.


DTJ: What does the new stadium mean for the North Loop neighborhood?


Shapiro: Congestion. That’s my number one concern. Obviously, I have some customers and employees who need to get down here. We’ve got some parking. But I have to spend money to keep people out of my parking spaces. And rather than being able to make it a profit center, charging fans to park for games and moving my people a few blocks away, I’m not allowed to do that because of a city ordinance. Meanwhile, I’m paying an additional sales tax in this area, even though I’m not a hotel or a restaurant. I can’t benefit from any retail activity. Then I finally get an opportunity where I might have some revenue, and the city is not allowing that.

They had a sign with one of those digital readouts blocking the entire sidewalk just for the Gopher’s game [on March 27]. It blocked my entire sidewalk. You had to go around and into the street to reach our front door.

Are there any benefits from having the stadium right next door?

For us directly, the fact that we can offer to let a client who’s coming to a game park in our lot. We can offer that benefit to our customers, as well as taking them and entertaining them at the ballpark. It enhances entertainment options for our customers.

———

Desiree Rose
North Loop condo resident and dog owner

How will Twins baseball affect your day-to-day life in the neighborhood?


Rose: There will be a lot more people and traffic, people walking past our patio here. Maybe even drunk people. When you might not want to have fun, there will still be fun going on around you. Especially on a Monday night when we might just want to relax and sit outside.

What will be the biggest drawback to having the stadium right next door?

Parking. We only have one spot in the garage. So my boyfriend has to find a spot on the street. Just with the Gopher game [on March 27], we couldn’t find a spot to park at our own home two hours before the game even started.

Is there any benefit to having the stadium so close to your apartment?

It’ll bring money into this neighborhood, which is great. But our businesses aren’t located here. So I don’t know, from the perspective of someone just living here, there’s not much benefit.

———

Anna Larsson

Business consultant, neighborhood mom

What does the new stadium mean for this neighborhood?

Larsson: I think it will certainly bring more people to the neighborhood, and introduce the neighborhood to people that otherwise wouldn’t have seen it or known about it. I think
it will also bring more
businesses here.

It’s already brought the light rail a few blocks closer. So that’s huge. For me personally, that is absolutely the biggest benefit.

How will Twins baseball affect your day-to-day life in the neighborhood?

I am actually a little bit worried about that. I work in the suburbs, so I drive home everyday. And so far, it’ll take me an extra 30 to 45 minutes just to get off the highway, to exit Interstate 394.  It changes a two-minute stretch into a 45-minute stretch.

I’m not worried about super heavy street traffic. But I did notice that parking… I live 8 blocks from the stadium, and the day when the Gophers played, even here the parking was jammed up. Personally, it doesn’t affect me, I have a private spot, but my babysitter had to park farther away that evening.

———

Troy Barnard

Bartender at Cuzzy’s
507 Washington Ave. N.


How important is outdoor baseball for Minnesota?


Barnard: Indoor baseball is horrible. It’s very important that the Twins now play outside. I have friends in Winnipeg and North Dakota, and they’re big Twins fans. They don’t have baseball there. And they say, well we’d love to come down for a Twins game, but if it’s 80 degrees, I don’t want to have to sit inside. So I think Target Field will make Minneapolis more attractive as a destination for people out-state.

———

Kevin

Cuzzy’s patron, partial season ticket holder


What’s the biggest benefit to having the stadium in this neighborhood?

Kevin: It’s close to my house. Being Downtown is absolutely perfect. The stadium’s small footprint, I didn’t like it at first, the stadium being stuck in such a small area. And whoever decided to put it next to a garbage incinerator is insane. We don’t know what August will bring with that. But now that it’s here, I love it.

What’s the biggest drawback?

Well, I think if you intend to leave the game early, you can park in the ramps. Otherwise, whoo, you better go stay somewhere afterward. Those ramps are impossible to leave from.

Also, my grandson was a little disappointed by the hot dog switch. He likes the Dome Dog better. But that’s it.

———

Joe Lomax
Nicollet Mall street musician

How will Twins baseball affect your day-to-day life?

Lomax: I think it [will] boost it up a little bit. I’m going to play “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” every day there’s a game. The only thing I’m concerned about is the people who are down and out. I hope they don’t have too many problems with the homeless people down here.




Bobby Gora
Owner, Cuzzy’s
507 Washington Ave. N.

What’s the biggest drawback to having the stadium in this neighborhood?

Gora: The parking scenario. We’ve got all of these empty lots around us because of the city ordinance. There’s a lot more revenue that could be generated in-house, because our taxes went up. But the city takes control, and now we’re not allowed to make use of these empty lots. We have a lot across the street that people can’t park in.


How important is it that the Twins are playing outside?

I think it’s very important that they’re playing outside our bar. Ha! I think it’s great to have outdoor baseball in our neighborhood. We are the Twins’ version of [the iconic Wrigleyville bar] the Cubby Bear in Chicago. We’re a neighborhood bar, we’re surrounded by these great condos. They were going for the whole Wrigley effect, and they definitely got it.