MINNEAPOLIS: Tunheim Partners is stepping up public affairs efforts for the Minnesota Twins as the baseball team seeks county and state approval for a sales tax increase to help fund a new stadium.
Tunheim has worked with the Twins for five years, but in the last two weeks has increased its account team from four or five people to between 14 and 15, said Mark Andrew, a Tunheim SVP heading the team.
The Twins and Hennepin County, in which Minneapolis is located, announced stadium plans April 25 in a press conference arranged by Tunheim.
Part of the funding for the facility will come from a county sales tax increase. Under Minnesota law, the county must ask the state legislature for permission to raise its sales tax.
The county board is scheduled to meet Tuesday to consider making such a request.
Any legislative action will need to be done before the legislature adjourns May 23. "We're in a very tough time crunch with this. Between now and next Tuesday, we will be doing grassroots efforts," to encourage people to contact county commissioners with support for the plan, said Andrew.
Tunheim also will be reaching out to local business executives and government officials to discuss why the new tax, a one-fifteenth-of-a-cent increase, should be enacted.
The downtown Minneapolis stadium plan calls for the team to put up $125 million for the $360 million facility. The remainder would come from the tax increase.
While the Twins play in a domed stadium now, the proposed stadium has no roof. The team is saying the state can put up the $100 million for a roof if it wants one.
The team received widespread coverage for holding an outdoor press conference to announce its plans on a blustery Minnesota day.
While Andrew wouldn't say the press conference was held outside specifically to illustrate the need for a stadium with a roof, he said: "The irony didn't escape us. We were aware what the affect would be."