Metrodome is ready to sell off its parts

  • Article by: RICHARD MERYHEW , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 20, 2013 - 5:45 AM

As the Metrodome enters its final months, the venue’s operators are making plans to sell off everything from the seats to the scoreboards.

In the market for a slightly used, NCAA-tourney-tested basketball backboard and rim, nets not included?

How about a portable pitcher’s mound, the one Johan Santana used in hurling his way to a Cy Young Award?

Or what about a row of shiny blue plastic bleacher seats to fill out the family room or den on game days?

With the Metrodome six months away from a date with the wrecking ball, stadium operators are scrambling to come up with a plan to sell off its once-prized-but-no-longer-needed assets.

What will be put up for sale and how it is priced and peddled has yet to be determined. But officials with the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority, which operates the stadium, said ­Friday that the sale of much of the surplus property probably will spread over a few months, starting this fall.

Baseball and basketball equipment will be the first to go, since the stadium is no longer used for either sport.

Anything needed for football — from the turf to the seats to the ­scoreboards — won’t be ­dismantled or sold until after the Vikings complete their 2013 season.

The Dome is scheduled to be razed in early 2014 to make way for construction of its $975 million replacement, which should open in time for the 2016 NFL season.

“We’ll just have a month to disassemble that entire ­stadium before demolition,” said Michele Kelm-Helgen, the stadium authority chairwoman. “That’s why we’re trying to get rid of as much of this stuff as we can now.”

Jay Lindgren, a partner with Dorsey & Whitney, one of the law firms representing the stadium authority, said most items probably will be put up for public bid, either through advertising or through an electronic or online process, such eBay.

The first of the goods targeted for sale include an indoor batting cage, a pitcher’s mound, the drum roller that ground crews used to smooth and pack the dirt around home plate and the bases, and the collapsible “risers,” which served as the platform for 5,000 folding chairs during NCAA basketball tournament games.

Other items that probably will be sold within a few months include small tractors, forklifts and a 1996 Ford pickup truck “with low miles,” Kelm-Helgen said.

Most of the property is now in the bowels of the stadium.

“We have nowhere to store this stuff anymore,” she said.

Most of the community organizations, school districts and individuals who have contacted the MSFA have asked for seats or a piece of turf, she said.

The authority is “just keeping lists on all the requests,” she said, until it figures out how to dispose of the items.

The River Falls (Wis.) Baseball Council e-mailed in May to say it wants “exactly 293 seats” for a townball-style ballpark now under construction. The Prior Lake Amateur ­Baseball Association has asked for a sizable chunk of turf for the infield of a high school ­baseball field.

Anne Leary-Skenzich, of Minneapolis, requested a small access gate that led to the TV broadcast platform at Twins games. Leary-Skenzich said she has fond memories of serving as the “gatekeeper” for the reporters and photographers who would come and go.

And Nick Kline, of Brookings, S.D., wrote seeking “a ­souvenir of any kind.”

Kline met his wife on a blind date at a Twins-Toronto Blue Jays game in May 2007. Four years later, they married. Come September, the couple are expecting their first child — a girl.

“My goal is to have a piece of the Metrodome to pass down to our daughter one day,” Kline wrote in an e-mail. “I would like to have something for her to hold onto as a symbol of the day that her parents first laid eyes on each other.”

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  • In the market for this used pitcher’s mound? How about a small lawn tractor, a row of bleacher seats or a batting cage? The sale of surplus items at the Metrodome will likely be spread out over a few months, starting this fall.

  • Metrodome seats photographed on 7/19/13.

  • Spare stairs and forklifts are kept in the Metrodome’s lower garages. “We have nowhere to store this stuff anymore,” said Michele Kelm-Helgen, chairwoman of the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority.

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