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St. Paul, Twins end stadium talks; no ballot question
by Curt Brown

Stadium talks between the Minnesota Twins and St. Paul formally ended Thursday, meaning St. Paul voters will not consider a ballpark ballot question this fall.

Team owner Carl Pohlad told city negotiators he wouldn't promise to move to St. Paul if the ballot question were successful. Pohlad also refused to make such a commitment part of a sale agreement if he sells to a new owner. St. Paul leaders said they didn't want to become a bargaining chip if the team pursues a new park in Hennepin County next year.

Mayor Randy Kelly, Twins President Jerry Bell and City Council President Dan Bostrom met for about 45 minutes at the St. Paul Area Chamber of Commerce Thursday, after which Kelly and Bostrom held a news conference.

"Our decision to end active discussions with the Twins lies in the fact that the current owner is not interested in negotiating an agreement with St. Paul," Kelly said.

The Twins would need to undergo a complete change of heart before Wednesday to get the proposed 3 percent tax increase on bars and restaurants on the September primary election ballot. Kelly said that is highly unlikely.

The Twins now hope to ask the 2003 Legislature to expand the current stadium funding formula and allow counties such as Hennepin to enter the stadium sweepstakes.

The team is guaranteed to play next season after court action surrounding Major League Baseball's plans to eliminate some franchises produced an agreement to keep the Twins in the Metrodome until at least 2004.