With the Minnesota Twins prepping to host the 2014 MLB All-Star Game, the impact of Target Field on downtown Minneapolis will be shown to a larger audience.
To say that Target Field hasn’t helped transform the North Loop area of downtown would be to ignore reality. What was once dreary surface parking lots is now a beautiful ballpark, and once-desultory old warehouses have been upgraded to studios, gorgeous workspaces and inviting corporate spaces. There had been growth in the area in spurts over the last 30 years with the reclaiming of old warehouses along First Avenue, but today the whole North Loop area is a boom town.
It should be even more of a boom town with the opening of the Green Line, the light-rail line connecting the Minneapolis and St. Paul downtowns. (The new St. Paul Saints ballpark will be near Union Depot on one end of the line; Target Field on the other. Old-timers will remember when the original St. Paul Saints and Minneapolis Millers played trolley-car doubleheaders, with the two ballparks connected by the Lake Street/Marshall Avenue trolley-car line.) If you’re heading to Target Field this season and beyond, you’ll now be able to take the train from anywhere on University Avenue in St. Paul and the University of Minnesota campus directly to the ballpark.
And the Twins played a big part in that. From the Star Tribune:
But for now, the All-Star Game is the downtown event of the summer, and time to celebrate the harvest of years of public and private investment that brought historic renovations, public green space, mass transit and an enhanced communal vibe to the North Loop. Its July 14-16 events may offer a snapshot of how far the other end of downtown could come by 2018.
“We were the back door of downtown,” said Karen Rosar, a North Loop resident and neighborhood board member who moved in from Maple Grove about a decade ago with her husband when they became empty-nesters. “You can look at a map and there was just a drop-off from” the central business areas.
She’s been active in neighborhood design, and can recall the days when Target Field Station was “just a twinkle in our eye.” Now she praises the twinkling lights around the transit station, and loves being able to watch a Twins game on the giant screen in the station’s Great Lawn.
Yes, we’ll be in the Twin Cities for the All-Star Game.
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