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Charlotte gives Twins a 30-day deadline

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Baseball boosters in Charlotte are asking the Minnesota Twins to decide after nine months of talk if they want to head south. Charlotte Regional Baseball Partnership leaders said Wednesday they want the Twins to decide in the next 30 days whether to extend their stay in the Twin Cities or begin a move to Charlotte.

"The Twins have to tell us if they want to be here or not," said Chip Mark, a spokesman for the group of business and civic leaders. "Then, we can move. Otherwise, we're fighting windmills."

Charlotte-area officials need to know the team's plans by month's end to prepare Knights Stadium in Fort Mill, S.C., by next season and to put together a deal on a downtown Charlotte ballpark, said partnership chairman Johnny Harris.

The team would play at the minor-league stadium at least two seasons before moving to Charlotte.

The Twins say they have lost $26 million over the past three seasons in the 16-year-old Metrodome in downtown Minneapolis. The team is trying to use an escape clause to leave after this season.

Minnesota officials want the team to extend its lease to give more time to build support for a new stadium the Twins want.

The Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission, which runs the Metrodome, wants a four-year lease that bars the Twins from talking to other cities.