Draft environmental review for ballpark unveiled

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January 29, 2007 // UPDATED 10:58 am - April 26, 2007
By: Michelle Bruch
Michelle Bruch

A draft environmental review of the new ballpark contains details about everything from jammed intersections to bad odors.

The large scale of the ballpark project requires Hennepin County to create an environmental impact statement (EIS) that evaluates the project’s prospective impact on the neighborhood and suggests how to mitigate that impact. The study encompasses air quality, traffic congestion, site contamination, lighting, noise and construction-related impacts.

The draft EIS was scheduled to be posted on the county’s website on Jan. 29.

Weekday games with a noon start time (about 10 games) would cause the worst traffic congestion, with 17 poorly operating intersections and nine freeway entrance ramps over capacity. Most of the games (about 50) would start on weekdays at 7 p.m., causing six intersections to operate poorly and two freeway entrances near the ballpark site to be over capacity.

The method of countering the congestion is still under review, but ideas include wayfinding signs, traffic announcements on the PA system and score board, park-and-ride lots at shopping malls, distribution of coupons to keep people Downtown longer, and special game day transit fares.

The state’s daytime noise standards for residential areas allow no more than the volume of a business office (65 dBA), and after 10 p.m. the state allows no more than the tone of conversational speech (50 dBA). In the North Loop neighborhood, a small difference is anticipated between noise levels with or without a ballpark.

Tests for garbage odor at the Hennepin Energy Recovery Center (HERC) between April and November 2006 found that odors found on 23 evaluation days were barely detectable.

“In comparison, neighborhood odors such as sewer smells and car and diesel exhaust were more prevalent and intense than odors from HERC,” the report said, noting that sewer smells were the strongest odors detected.

The area most impacted by lighting is behind the outfield. After the first block, spillover light begins to dissipate as buildings block the light.

Public comment on the stadium’s environmental review continues through March 6. A public meeting on the ballpark study will take place Feb. 20 at the Hennepin County Government Center.

To review the draft EIS, go to www.co.hennepin.mn.us and click on the “On Deck” link.