The Grand Design or the Grand Illusion?

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune has an article on that reveals an awful lot about the mindset behind stadium and surrounding neighborhood development:

A 10-member volunteer Design Advisory Group appointed by the Hennepin County commissioners held a public hearing this week to review the issues and invite feedback. By Nov. 9, the group is to report back to the commissioners on ways to activate the area around the stadium.

…But the park’s sunken site means fans will reach it by elevated walkways — a broad pedestrian bridge extending from the Target Center, skyways from the nearby parking ramps and platforms from the Hiawatha light-rail and Northstar commuter trains.

“We have several large gulfs that need to be bridged,” said Chuck Ballentine, deputy coordinator for the Hennepin County ballpark project.

How these connections work is one of many questions about how the 42,000-seat ballpark will fit into the city.

…rather than letting the neighborhood grow around the ballpark. Past experience tells us that ballparks do not, by themselves, lead to much “spontaneuous” economic vitality around them. There are notable exceptions (Wrigley Field, anyone?), but they are the outliers. Why should folks believe that public officials are any better at building “ballpark villages” that will attract people than they were at building ballparks?

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Author: Phil Miller

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