MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- The Minnesota Twins are presenting a new stadium plan to key legislators, one that has them paying as much as half the cost of a $300 million outdoor stadium.
The state would issue a no-interest loan for much of the remainder, similar to the deal that helped the Minnesota Wild build their new arena in St. Paul.
"These are ideas," Twins President Jerry Bell said. "You start to develop insight into the thinking of people about it. ... We haven't drafted any bill. If anything, it's a work in progress."
House Speaker Steve Sviggum, who met last week with Bell and former state Sen. Steve Novak, now a Twins consultant, told the Star Tribune that the team is presenting this idea:
--Owner Carl Pohlad would contribute up to $150 million. He would provide most of that, although part could come from the business community.
--The state, through the Legislature, would extend a no-interest loan of $100 million to $150 million, repayment of which Pohlad would guarantee. The loan would be modeled on the $65 million state loan and grant for the hockey arena built in St. Paul for the Minnesota Wild.
--The host city, which the team would not designate, would contribute infrastructure and site preparation worth an estimated $50 million.
--The deal wouldn't happen unless Major League Baseball and its players' union agreed to basic economic changes, including a limit on salaries. Baseball's current economic structure makes it difficult for small-market teams to compete.
"That basically is the package as presented to me," said Sviggum, R-Kenyon. "It's certainly intriguing that it doesn't have a direct outlay of state funds."
For a deal to be valuable to the team, however, it's likely the Twins would want at least some of the stadium revenue, possibly including taxes on tickets, player salaries and concessions. Those taxes have been controversial in the past.
Although Sviggum has steadfastly opposed any subsidy for a stadium, he said the latest concept might blunt some criticism. Still, he remained wary of bringing the emotional issue into the 2001 legislative session. "I have very little interest at this time," he said.
Senate Majority Leader Roger Moe, DFL-Erskine, met with Novak on Tuesday to discuss some ideas. Moe's top aide, Vic Moore, said the meeting was at Moe's request. "Roger has always said that he believes that Major League Baseball and football have some value to the state; it's just a question of what the cost is to protect that value," Moore said.
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