I don’t know about you, but if I was building a new home I wouldn’t put it on a lot next to a garbage incinerator. But even if I did, I wouldn’t then expect the people who ran the garbage incinerator — which was built over 20 years before I got there — to have to pay for smell remediation. Then again, I’m not the Minnesota Twins:
When the new Twins ballpark was sited next to Hennepin County’s garbage burner in downtown Minneapolis, county officials assured state legislators that there wouldn’t be any odor problem despite the proximity to a building that takes in 1,000 tons of garbage a day. Now the county is considering spending an estimated $2.3 million to remodel the building and grounds, about $500,000 of that to deal with odor control.
Two of the county commissioners who attended a briefing on the plans Thursday were not happy to learn that changes to the burner are needed because of the ballpark.
You often hear about this kind of thing with public ballparks. No, not trash specifically, but the situation in which elected officials express their displeasure at finding out about hidden expenses or problems years after the funds were approved for the stadium. You were told that a garbage incinerator a mere 100 feet from a fan promenade wouldn’t present an odor problem? And you believed it? Really?
I’d suggest that a little more scrutiny on the front end would have identified this as a potential problem and a little more diligence in the planning stages would have found a cheaper solution to it. Of course, if such scrutiny and diligence were exercised, it’s very likely that the whole idea of giving a billionaire hundreds of millions in public funds for a personal playground and cash machine would have been tabled in the first place.