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Twins help usher in Target Field Station

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins, the city of Minneapolis and Hennepin County celebrated the opening of Target Field Station on Saturday.

The $85 million facilty is a central transportation hub located outside of Target Field that features an urban park, transit station and neighborhood gathering space featuring a video board and amphitheater. The Twins control the video board and will show Twins road games and All-Star events on the big screen.

"Obviously, the vision of Target Field was as an urban ballpark, but it was also about transit connections," Twins president Dave St. Peter said. "So Target Field Station is a significant milestone and a great upgrade for our fans. It's certainly going to enhance the overall gameday experience for fans before games to gather, but also postgame it also gives an opportunity to give a better experience for those waiting to take a train back home. So there's a lot of positives. It's great for the Twins and for the north loop neighborhood and is a great amenity for our state."

The transit hub connects approximately 500 trains arriving and departing daily via the METRO Blue Line (Hiawatha LRT), METRO Green Line (Central Corridor LRT) and Northstar Commuter Rail, as well as more than 1,900 daily bus trips and miles of bike and walking trails. The Green Line, which will connect Minneapolis and St. Paul by light rail, is scheduled to begin service on June 14.

Target Field Station is a project of Hennepin County, the Hennepin County Regional Railroad Authority and the Hennepin County Housing and Redevelopment Authority. It has been part of a collaborative effort between Hennepin County, Knutson Construction and Perkins Eastman.

Saturday's celebration began at 1 p.m. CT and featured several live acts in the amphitheater, including Choo Choo Bob, Alex Rossi and the Root City Band, Gear Daddies and Young Ry. St. Peter said he expected the Twins to use the amphitheater plenty moving forward.

"We're going to do some events," St. Peter said. "We have programming responsibilities. So it'll include music and other public events we think will be beneficial to the community. So we'll have more information on that. We want it to be a great public gathering space not only for the Twins games but also on non-game days."

A special ribbon-cutting ceremony was also held Saturday and featured several dignitaries, including Twins owner Jim Pohlad, Hennepin County commissioner Peter McLaughlin, U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar, U.S. Representative Keith Ellison, Hennepin County Board chair Mike Opat, Mayor Betsy Hodges of Minneapolis, Metropolitan Council Chair Susan Haigh, Target vice president Dan Griffis, Minnesota Department of Transportation commissioner Charlie Zelle, Red Hawk Consulting's Ed Hunter, the Federal Highway Administration's Derrell Turner, Minnesota Senator Scott Dibble and Minnesota representatives Alice Hausman and Frank Hornstein.

Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger.
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