Minnesota Twins Stadium Boardwalk Closes For Spring Baseball Practice

The popular Hammond Stadium promenade in Lee County has been closed and will remain banned during the Minnesota Twins’ spring training season due to structural issues.

The Twins have 17 spring training games scheduled for Hammond starting in late February.

Inspection of the boardwalk, a popular attraction that circles the outfield from post to post, revealed potential issues with the elevated structure. It will be closed until experts determine that it can be used.

Related:Lee County makes deal with contractor to fix issues with its two spring training stadiums

Hammond Stadium:Boardwalk was a big hit when it opened in 2014

Since earlier:Problems with Lee County’s two large spring parks have been discovered

Spring practice games will be played, but some seats will not be available while engineers check the promenade and workers make necessary repairs.

“This is a problem-review process. We want to see if there are any problems. This is an excess of caution,” Harner said Tuesday. “Spring training will take place at the stadium. No ticket sales along the promenade will be available.”

Stadium issues have already been discovered at the county’s other spring training site. Last February, problems with the support structures of a bridge similar to JetBlue Park, used by the Boston Red Sox, were discovered.

The weakened trusses under the JetBlue catwalk have been sandblasted and will begin receiving multiple coats of coatings later this month, a job expected to be completed in January, weeks before the start of spring training games.

“JetBlue will be finished by then, and there are no other issues,” Harner said.

It was the discovery of safety issues at Jet Blue in February that led to a closer inspection at Hammond Stadium earlier this year.

The Hammond Stadium Boardwalk can be seen in the background during the open house during the Minnesota Twins' spring training season.  The boardwalk will be closed during spring training as Lee County contractors examine the boardwalk for structural issues.

“Through our mostly routine structural reviews that we perform each year, we have noticed over the past two years a change in the physical configuration of the boardwalk,” County Manager Roger Desjarlais told reporters following. of a county committee meeting on Tuesday.

Manhattan Construction was the contractor for the stadium renovation project and will help assess the structural problem. The Neapolitan company was the prime contractor for a joint venture to make improvements to the stadium and will conduct a review of its work.

Lee County paid $ 42 million for stadium improvements as part of a $ 48 million deal to upgrade CenturyLink Sports Complex to keep the Twins in Lee County for spring training during 20 more years.

“Once they do their review, we have our own engineers who we hired.” Desjarlais told commissioners Tuesday.

“We are committed to ensuring you have absolute transparency and disclosure on anything we find – no matter if we find,” Desjarlais said. “If we find out there’s a problem with the structural integrity, we’ll tell you.”

Hammond Stadium on Six Mile Cypress Parkway in Lee County, seen in a 2019 file photo, is set to host 17 spring baseball practice games starting in February.  But a popular attraction at the stadium will be closed, as county officials have decided to close the popular promenade that spans the outfield to allow for examination of structural issues.  Andrew West / The News Press

The problems reported in the elevated walkways at both stadiums appear to have started in the left-field area, but officials were unwilling to speculate that there were similar issues.

“All of our partners are at the table,” said Harner. “Manhattan has been very good partners in the process”

Other companies, including construction firms and structural engineers involved in the CenturyLink sports complex expansion used by the Twins, are participating in discussions on how to resolve the situation.

The county plans to create a dedicated webpage to provide information on what is going on at the stadium, results and prospects for redress.

“We don’t plan to rush the engineers,” Harner said.

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