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Stadium design clears big hurdle with quick board vote

Two-and-a-half years of wrangling over a Twins ballpark came down to a terse, speedy vote by Hennepin County commissioners on Tuesday as they approved the stadium design, 6-1.
/ Source: KARE11.com

Two-and-a-half years of wrangling over a Twins ballpark came down to a terse, speedy vote by Hennepin County commissioners on Tuesday as they approved the stadium design, 6-1.

There was no discussion. The only "no" vote came from Penny Steele, a longtime stadium opponent.

Plans for the $390 million, 40,000-seat stadium now move to the Minneapolis Planning Commission and the City Council. Construction on the ballpark, which is expected to open in 2010, has already started.

In other action, the board delayed approval of the appointment of Minneapolis Library Director Kit Hadley as deputy county administrator. Hadley had been scheduled to begin the job as the county's second-in-command on Nov. 26, but the board wants to discuss her appointment with county Administrator Richard Johnson in a special meeting the day after.

Some commissioners hesitated to approve Hadley's appointment because of her role in the pending merger of the county and city library systems. The two become one on Jan. 1, but much work remains to make that go smoothly. In her new job, Hadley would be supervising Hennepin County Library Director Amy Ryan.

Several commissioners said they had no problem with Hadley getting the deputy job but they had questions about how she would work with Ryan.

"I represent the suburbs," said Steele. "I believe [Ryan] is solid gold, and to me it is important that she be treated with utmost respect."

Gail Dorfman said Ryan and Hadley had worked well together before and there was no reason to doubt they couldn't do so again. She said the board should trust Johnson's judgment, and said that questioning his decision amounted to micromanaging.

But Mike Opat disagreed. "I'm not interested in supervising anybody. I just want to know [Johnson's] rationale," he said. "It's unusual to have two peers managing each other."

Johnson was not at the meeting because he had a family emergency. Before becoming director of Minneapolis libraries, Hadley was commissioner of the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency for nine years.

Mary Jane Smetanka • 612-673-7380

Mary Jane Smetanka • smetan@startribune.com