Hartman: Target Field's tax being paid down early, Opat says

  • Article by: SID HARTMAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 21, 2013 - 12:28 AM

The Hennepin County commissioner said payments are ahead of schedule; tax benefits libraries and parks, too.

No doubt one person who played a huge part in getting Target Field built is Hennepin County Commissioner Mike Opat, who fought the battle to get a new home for the Twins as hard as anybody.

With the ballpark in the midst of its fourth season, it seemed like a good time to ask Opat if the finances connected with paying for the stadium are working as expected. Have there been problems raising money for Target Field like there are for the Vikings football stadium, where the projected income from electronic pulltabs isn’t being met and other alternatives to pay for it are being discussed?

“The ballpark, we’re paying our mortgage on schedule; in fact, we’re ahead,” Opat said. “That’s all good news. When we began the project, you’ll remember that we wanted to cap the cost of the project, so we did that at about $390 million, of which $260 million would be the county’s participation, plus another $90 million for infrastructure.

“So we had $350 million of public money [to go along with $185 million of private money invested by the Pohlad family] into it and we imposed a sales tax and we collect … roughly the mortgage payments are right around $20 million a year, a little less than $20 [million]. In addition the sales tax has generated, because the economy has rebounded a little bit, we’ve made $30 million in additional prepayments so we can retire this tax as soon as possible.”

Opat also pointed out that one of the benefits of the countywide tax for the stadium is that it creates an annual revenue of about $4 million, with $2 million of that going to keep city libraries open on Sundays while the other half is used for youth sports grants.

“Those are very important for some of the inner-ring suburbs in the city, where we can improve ball fields and work with school districts,” Opat said. “We’ve spent more than $11 million and made more than 68 grants to help restore ball fields, build soccer fields in neighborhoods that don’t have them, batting cages, playground equipment, tennis courts. We’ve done a lot of things that we wouldn’t have been able to do.”

The tax being collected in Hennepin County is three cents on every $20 spent.

“It’s interesting to follow the Vikings debate — and we had the same thing face us — is how will the public pay for it?” Opat said. “We could have had a more exotic menu of liquor taxes or try to get gambling taxes or hotel taxes or all the rest, and we tried to make it as straightforward as possible, though that didn’t lessen the controversy.

“But you can rely on the sales tax and that has proven to be true. It doesn’t diminish the fact that it was a heck of a fight, but it’s really working out well. I think we’ll be able to prepay this debt over time and get out of this business of the extra tax.”

Hennepin County has a large transit project being built near Target Field that will cost $70 million and is expected be done by the time the Twins open the 2014 season.

“We’re putting up a big parking facility as well as a major transit [hub] — we call it the interchange — and it will help people get there more easily and make the logistics easier,” Opat said. “But it is also going to be a space to be used year-round. There will be an entertainment performance area there and some shops and potentially some buildings and redevelopment, kind of another dividend of the ballpark in a part of town that wasn’t doing so well beforehand.”

Target Center delayed

Ted Johnson, senior vice president of marketing and communications for the Timberwolves, is optimistic that the needed remodeling of Target Center can begin soon with money provided by the city of Minneapolis, AEG (the firm that operates the arena), and the team.

“It’s actually in the lawyers’ hands, where we can’t agree on a little thing here or a little thing there,” Johnson said. “But we should get it done soon.”

Jottings

• On the final day of Vikings minicamp, coach Leslie Frazier was asked how long he thinks it will take quarterback Christian Ponder to get his timing down with first-round draft choice Cordarrelle Patterson and new wide receiver Greg Jennings. “Well, we have made a lot of progress in the time we have been out here,” Frazier said. “We run a lot of drills to work on timing. So I think we made progress and we are where we should be going into training camp.”

• One reason why the Twins were 6-3 on the recent homestand was the hitting of Ryan Doumit, who hit .291 with three doubles, four walks and two RBI. Doumit now has 18 RBI in the past 22 games and 24 of his 54 hits this season are for extra bases.

• Twins General Manager Terry Ryan said he believes Brian Dozier will be a good second baseman and “defensively he’s played pretty darn good out there. Offensively it has been inconsistent. The average [.234] isn’t where it needs to be and moving runners and bunting and all the stuff that comes with being a bit of a catalyst, they have to improve. We have a lot of faith that Dozier is going to turn into a good player, but there is still work to be done.” Dozier has recently shown signs the Twins’ patience might be paying off in a big way: He’s 6-for-16 with three home runs, two doubles, six runs scored and seven RBI in his past five games.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Los Angeles - LP: B. Wilson 7 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - WP: J. Grimm 8
Detroit - WP: M. Scherzer 3 FINAL
Kansas City - LP: J. Shields 2
Philadelphia - WP: J. Williams 3 FINAL
Oakland - LP: D. Otero 0
Toronto - WP: M. Stroman 6 FINAL
NY Yankees - LP: C. Capuano 3
Arizona - LP: T. Cahill 1 FINAL
Colorado - WP: E. Butler 5
Boston - LP: R. De La Rosa 2 FINAL
Baltimore - WP: C. Tillman 7
Milwaukee - WP: Z. Duke 1 FINAL
Pittsburgh - LP: M. Melancon 0
Washington - WP: J. Zimmermann 3 FINAL
Miami - LP: J. Cosart 2
NY Mets - WP: J. Niese 4 FINAL
Atlanta - LP: M. Minor 2
Chicago WSox - LP: H. Noesi 1 FINAL
Tampa Bay - WP: C. Archer 3
Cleveland - WP: T. House 7 FINAL
Minnesota - LP: T. May 3
Seattle - LP: C. Young 1 FINAL
Houston - WP: D. Keuchel 10
Cincinnati - LP: M. Leake 4 FINAL
St. Louis - WP: J. Motte 8
San Francisco - LP: Y. Petit 2 FINAL
San Diego - WP: A. Cashner 3
Texas - LP: C. Lewis 5 FINAL
LA Angels - WP: J. Weaver 8
San Diego 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Dallas 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Washington 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Houston 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Minnesota 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Tennessee 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Baltimore 12:00 PM
Cleveland
Green Bay 12:00 PM
Detroit
Indianapolis 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Oakland 12:00 PM
New England
San Francisco 3:05 PM
Arizona
Denver 3:25 PM
Seattle
Kansas City 3:25 PM
Miami
Pittsburgh 7:30 PM
Carolina
Chicago 9/22/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 9/25/14 7:25 PM
Washington
Connecticut 14 FINAL
So Florida 17
Old Dominion 45 FINAL
Rice 42
Troy 0 FINAL
(13) Georgia 66
Georgia Tech 27 FINAL
Virginia Tech 24
Eastern Mich 14 FINAL
(11) Michigan State 73
Iowa 24 FINAL
Pittsburgh 20
Bowling Green 17 FINAL
(19) Wisconsin 68
Maryland 34 FINAL
Syracuse 20
Tulane 13 FINAL
Duke 47
Hawaii 12 FINAL
Colorado 21
Marshall 48 FINAL
Akron 17
North Carolina 41 FINAL
East Carolina 70
Army 21 FINAL
Wake Forest 24
Virginia 33 FINAL
(21) BYU 41
(6) Texas A&M 58 FINAL
SMU 6
Rutgers 31 FINAL
Navy 24
Central Mich 10 FINAL
Kansas 24
Utah 26 FINAL
Michigan 10
Florida 21 FINAL
(3) Alabama 42
Louisville 34 FINAL
FIU 3
Fla Atlantic 19 FINAL
Wyoming 20
Indiana 31 FINAL
(18) Missouri 27
San Jose St 7 FINAL
Minnesota 24
Texas State 35 FINAL
Illinois 42
Massachusetts 7 FINAL
Penn State 48
Georgia State 14 FINAL
Washington 45
Appalachian St 20 FINAL
Southern Miss 21
Miss State 34 FINAL
(8) LSU 29
Northern Ill 14 FINAL
Arkansas 52
Middle Tennessee 17 FINAL
Memphis 36
Utah State 14 FINAL
Arkansas State 21
Miami-Ohio 24 FINAL
Cincinnati 31
Idaho 24 FINAL
Ohio U 36
Ball State 23 FINAL
Toledo 34
(14) So Carolina 48 FINAL
Vanderbilt 34
(4) Oklahoma 45 FINAL
West Virginia 33
Ga Southern 28 FINAL
South Alabama 6
UNLV 14 FINAL
Houston 47
Miami-Florida 31 FINAL
(24) Nebraska 41
New Mexico 38 FINAL
New Mexico St 35
(22) Clemson 17 FINAL
(1) Florida State 23
California 45 FINAL
Arizona 49
San Diego St 7 FINAL
Oregon State 28
(2) Oregon 38 FINAL
Washington St 31
Louisiana 9 FINAL
Boise State 34
Texas Tech 9/25/14 6:30 PM
(25) Oklahoma State
Appalachian St 9/25/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
(12) UCLA 9/25/14 9:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Middle Tennessee 9/26/14 7:00 PM
Old Dominion
Fresno State 9/26/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
(1) Florida State 9/27/14 2:00 AM
NC State
Duke 9/27/14 2:00 AM
Miami-Florida
North Carolina 9/27/14 2:00 AM
(22) Clemson
Texas-El Paso 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(20) Kansas State
Tennessee 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(13) Georgia
Vanderbilt 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Kentucky
Wyoming 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(11) Michigan State
Northwestern 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
TCU 9/27/14 11:00 AM
SMU
Iowa 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Tulane 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers
So Florida 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Colorado State 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Boston College
Western Mich 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Virginia Tech
Maryland 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Indiana
Akron 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/27/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Arkansas 9/27/14 2:30 PM
(6) Texas A&M
Kent State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Virginia
Western Ky 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Minnesota 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Wake Forest 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Louisville
FIU 9/27/14 2:30 PM
UAB
Miami-Ohio 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Colorado 9/27/14 3:00 PM
California
Louisiana Tech 9/27/14 3:00 PM
(5) Auburn
Texas 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Kansas
Temple 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Connecticut
(16) Stanford 9/27/14 3:15 PM
Washington
TX-San Antonio 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
South Alabama 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Idaho
Cincinnati 9/27/14 5:00 PM
(23) Ohio State
Rice 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
(18) Missouri 9/27/14 6:00 PM
(14) So Carolina
Boise State 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Air Force
Central Mich 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
Troy 9/27/14 6:00 PM
ULM
New Mexico St 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(8) LSU
Memphis 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(10) Ole Miss
Texas State 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Washington St 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Utah
(9) Notre Dame 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Syracuse
(7) Baylor 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Iowa State
UNLV 9/27/14 7:00 PM
San Diego St
Illinois 9/27/14 8:00 PM
(24) Nebraska
Oregon State 9/27/14 9:30 PM
(17) USC
Nevada 9/27/14 9:30 PM
San Jose St
Vancouver FC 0 FINAL
Portland 3
Houston 0 FINAL
Philadelphia 0
New England 0 FINAL
Columbus 1
San Jose 0 FINAL
Montreal 2
Seattle 1 FINAL
Red Bull New York 4
D.C. 3 FINAL
Chicago 3
FC Dallas 1 FINAL
Los Angeles 2
Toronto 40 FINAL
Brt Columbia 23
Edmonton 23 FINAL
Hamilton 25
Calgary 12:00 PM
Montreal
Ottawa 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan

ADVERTISEMENT

Advertisement
Golden Gavel by Star Tribune

Countdown to great deals

Bid Sept. 21-29

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How will the Vikings do on Sunday in New Orleans?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close