Monday, February 09, 2004

Anybody that lives around Minnesota's Twin Cities or reads a newspaper from this area knows just what a busy weekend the famed cities had. Divided by a river but uited by their proximity and similarities, this weekend was a busy time for the frozen northland.

For the past many weeks, St. Paul, the state's capital and smaller twin, has played host to the St. Paul Winter Carnival. The main attraction this year was the first Ice Palace since Minneapolis hosted the Super Bowl at the Metrodome way back in 1992. This year's palace was also the first since the 40's that could be walked through. Quite a sight to see but I shyed away from this because the only time I could make it to this attraction was during its busiest times. Those also happened to be the coldest and/or snowiest times as well. Thanks but no thanks. What did I miss? It's a big palace built of ice. I can see ice anywhere - yes, even out here in the burbs.

If Minnesota has alot of anything during the winter months, it is ice. It makes for great outdoor activities such as ice skating. Ice skating is meant for those who can skate. I do not belong to that category. The city of St. Paul did play host to another huge event which happened to take place right across the street from the Ice Palace. Xcel Energy Center plays host to the NHL's Minnesota Wild who last year went deep into the playoffs. This past weekend it was host to another NHL event, the All-Star game. Even though it was won by the Eastern All-Stars it was still a great, high scoring game.

Later on, actually in the evening, the NFL Pro Bowl was played. I hear that even a Viking (or two) made the team this year. I didn't watch though. My interest fades as soon as the Vikings season is over. If they make the playoffs, that's usually after Wild Card weekend, this year it was the final week of the regular season. CHOKE! Only the Viqueens could blow a season that started with 6 consecutive wins. And they have the guts to ask for a new stadium. Although, for some reason, they seem to be the likely front-runners for a new stadium as opposed to the Minnesota Gophers football team who are sharing an already shared stadium. Not too much of a football atmosphere in that place. The likely candidates for a new Vikings stadium are Eden Prairie in the southwest metro and Blaine which is in the far north metro. I would prefer Eden Prairie but why not find a way to keep it downtown. Renovate the dome, stick it out and use the Gophers stadium when theirs is built and rebuild on the existing dome property. Keep the pro sports downtown. The traffic situation in the burbs is bad enough and a weekly event like that would cause just that many more problems.

The Twins are also in the running for a new stadium. In my eyes, they deserve it more than the Vikes, The Twins have at least won two championships as opposed to the Vikes coming home empty handed four times. The possible sites for future Twins homes are the likely candidates, downtown Minneapolis and downtown St. Paul. I think St. Paul has a better chance as they have already proven that they can support hockey and the stadium site is where this year's ice palace stood. I find it odd that the Twins didn't seek out a place like the Vikes did where they can build an entire miniature community around their new home. Maybe the Twins are the more sensible team by seeking a home in either downtown where hotels and pre- and post-game entertainment options are plentiful. I think if I lived closer to either downtown I would become more interested in spending time out of the house - especially during the winter months. I would also be more likely to see a Twins game downtown as opposed to some suburb. It just makes it feel like more of an outing.

Maybe Minneapolis would be a better home for the Twins. They have proven their support over the last twenty-plus years. Many hotels exist and the parking in the proposed warehouse district site is fair. The convention center has been at home here and was recently more-than doubled in size. Their is also another proposal for a new hotel that would add over 1,000 rooms. The question remains for this proposed building, how much is too much? So many hotels already sit empty most of the time, is it a necessary addition or would it be seen as a flop like the once-touted Block E development. Minneapolis is already home to most of the area's sought-after entertainment options which could be seen as a support feature for the Twins. Maybe it's better if they stay in the city they are already at home in.

But on the other hand, give St. Paul a chance. It's anyone's guess which team will end up in which city. Only time will tell.

Stay tuned.

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