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Efforts shift to extending Metrodome lease

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) -- Talk about the Minnesota Twins' future turned on Wednesday to extending their stay in the Metrodome, a day after voters in North Carolina rejected an increased sales tax for a new ballpark there. State officials would like the Twins to agree to a lease that would keep the team in the 15-year-old Metrodome for at least another two years.

"This would seem an opportune time to sit down," said Bernie Omann, Gov. Arne Carlson's chief of staff.

Carlson's staff has been pushing the lease extension along with those who have opposed a new publicly funded stadium.

So far, the team hasn't been willing to go beyond those preliminary discussions.

"That's one of the options that will be explored," said Twins spokesman Dave St. Peter.

For nearly three years, the Twins unsuccessfully sought state aid in building a new ballpark. Twins owner Carl Pohlad last year signed a tentative deal to sell the team to a group led by North Carolina businessman Don Beaver, who would move the team to the Greensboro, High Point and Winston-Salem area.

Tuesday's vote, however, leaves the team in limbo.

Charlotte is another possibility for a move, but the city doesn't have a major-league ballpark and no immediate plans to build one.

The Twins have only committed to play in the Metrodome through the current season.