Hennepin County is on pace to pay off its $350 million share of Target Field five to 10 years ahead of schedule. The Star Tribune reports the county has taken advantage of low interest rates and a stable revenue stream to speed up its payments, saving nearly $54 million in interest expenses.
The roughly $555 million Twins ballpark, located in the Warehouse District of downtown Minneapolis, opened in 2010. Hennepin County commissioners approved a 0.15 percent sales tax to cover their part of the tab -- which is about 3 cents on a $20 purchase. The initial plan was to make the final debt payment by 2037.
County board Chairman Mike Opat told MPR, "Although the economy has been slower than we thought, interest rates have been lower than we thought. So the combination of those has allowed us to save some money for future capital expenses and then begin paying down the debt."
Meanwhile, electronic pulltab gaming devices were first unveiled in September as a way to generate $350 million for the new Vikings stadium in downtown Minneapolis, but revenues have been disappointing so far – an estimated $16 million compared to a project $34 million for the current fiscal year, officials have said.