Civic beat // Walker Library will close on Sept. 22 for reconstruction

Sept. 22 will mark the end of the Walker Library’s 31-year home as crews demolish the building and begin construction on a new facility in the heart of Uptown. 

The new Walker Library is expected to open sometime in the first half of 2014. 

An event to mark the closing of the library will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Sept. 22. Hennepin County Library Director Lois Thompson will speak and County Commissioner Gail Dorfman will lead a family story time. Architects from Vincent James Associates Architects will present highlights of the project. 

The new library, unlike the existing one, will be built above ground. It will be one-level tall with an underground parking lot for a couple dozen vehicles. While the collection size isn’t going to change, the new library will have about 50 percent more space for programming and will include an outdoor space for reading. 

Hennepin County has budgeted $12 million for the project. 

The Minneapolis Park Board plans to use the construction of the new library to renovate the parkland just north of the new facility. 

Forbes: Vikings team values spikes 22 percent following stadium deal

Thanks to a heavily subsidized new stadium, the Minnesota Vikings are now worth $975 million, 22 percent more than last year, when the team was valued at $796 million, according to Forbes.com.

That means the team has increased in value by $179 million in 12 months, despite suffering a 3-13 record last season.

According to Forbes, the team turns an annual profit of $7.2 million, but the magazine predicts that a new stadium could increase revenue by $40 million a year. 

Last year, the Vikings were ranked by Forbes as the 28th most valuable franchise of the 32 NFL teams. Now the Vikings are ranked the 22nd most valuable team. 

The new stadium will cost $975 million. Of that, the team is paying $477 million, the state is paying $348 million and the city is paying $150 million. Plus, the city will chip in another $189 million to operate the facility for the next 30 years. 

Stadium construction will begin following the 2012-2013 season and is expected to finish in 2016. 

Rybak speaks at Democratic National Convention

Mayor R.T. Rybak is a long-time supporter of Barack Obama. On Sept. 4, Rybak was rewarded with a speaking slot during the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C. 

Rybak spoke for seven minutes on the opening day of the convention. He evoked former Minneapolis Mayor and Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey. He mentioned his roots in New Prague. Mostly, he touted Obama’s accomplishments over the past four years. 

“President Obama has earned every gray hair on his head fighting for the middle class and every American, now it’s time to stand up, America, and fight for this man as hard as he has fought for you,” Rybak told the convention. 

Target Field awarded 2014 All-Star game

Major League Baseball announced on Aug. 29 that Minneapolis will host the 2014 All-Star Game at Target Field. 

The announcement has been long expected by fans. Target Field was completed in 2010 and most new stadiums get to host the annual match up between the best players from the American League and the best players from the National League. 

For those who like to plan ahead, the 85th All-Star Game will be played July 15, 2014. Expect plenty of fanfare in the days leading up to the game, including the beloved Home Run Derby. 

This will mark the third time the Twin Cities has played host to the All-Star Game. Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington hosted the game in 1965 and the Metrodome hosted the game in 1985. 

Reach Nick Halter at nhalter@mnpubs.com.