“I want it to be a place where families and everybody can come,” Campbell said.
Her hopes for the new Downtown stadium are similar to those of many Minneapolis residents, but coming from Campbell, they now have more weight. The City Council voted 12-1 at its June 16 meeting to approve the former councilmember as its appointee to the five-member Ballpark Authority that will own the new stadium and oversee its construction.
Campbell was a three-term City Councilmember from 1990-2002. She also was a longstanding member of the Metropolitan Council, serving from 1973-1989. She was on the Met Council when it built the Metrodome, the facility where the Twins, Minnesota Vikings and University of Minnesota Gophers football team currently play. She also more recently served on the implementation panel for Downtown's New Central Library, which she said has provided her with experiences that will be useful as she starts her work on the Ballpark Authority.
“You learn about construction and bid packages and all those kinds of things,” Campbell said. “So that will definitely help.”
Campbell supported the countywide sales tax that will largely fund the stadium and the legislation that allows the tax to be levied without a referendum. She said she sees her role on the Ballpark Authority as looking out for the city's interests while also ensuring the state ends up with the best ballpark possible.
“One of the things I've learned from being a public official both on the Met Council and the City Council is that you have to balance the needs of the group you represent with the needs of the whole,” Campbell said.
The stadium bill the Legislature approved dictates that the Ballpark Authority must include two members appointed by the governor, two members appointed by the county and one member appointed by the city of Minneapolis. Campbell said until a few weeks ago she thought the legislation prohibited anyone who had been an elected official from serving on the Ballpark Authority. When she realized it only excluded individuals who have held elected office in Hennepin County or Minneapolis within the past two years, she called Council President Barb Johnson (4th Ward) and expressed her interest. The phone call led to a position on the Authority.
In addition to appointing Campbell, the resolution the Council passed also approved Johnson and Councilmember Lisa Goodman (7th Ward) as the city representatives on the ballpark implementation committee. Johnson said additional appointments may also be made later, and city staff from appropriate departments will also work on the development of the stadium.
Councilmember Cam Gordon (2nd Ward) was the lone vote against the resolution. He told fellow councilmembers at the meeting that he approved of the representatives chosen but still has concerns about a publicly funded ballpark.
Kari VanDerVeen can be reached at [email protected] and 436-4373.