Homeless in the shadow of Target Center

Never let it be said that Minnesota Public Radio isn’t green. We carpooled today to the announcement that the Timberwolves and Minneapolis want a renovated Target Center arena. The comment from one of the poolers, my colleague Bob Collins (offering, by the way, invaluable back seat driving instructions on where to park – he’s a Timberwolves season ticket holder) hangs in my mind.

The comment? Something like this. How interesting that two of the Twin Cities’ major entertainment arena’s, Xcel and Target Center, have homeless shelters, Dorothy Day Center in St. Paul and Salvation Army in Minneapolis, in their shadow. That’s it. Not exactly an original observation. Read into it what you want. Economic disparity is nothing new, won’t be going away soon.

It’s worth noting that the users of both facilities – touring shows, sports teams, conventions – return lots and lots of money in the way of fees and taxes to the state. The city of Minneapolis which owns Target Center asserts the facility has returned $120 million over its life to Minnesota on an investment of less than $8 million. And it’s reasonable to assume some of the dough goes back into the economy to help kids and older people and maybe even the homeless.

The Target Center folks also point out they’re a decent-sized employer with 200 full-time and 700 part-time workers. Anyway, brace yourself for a fresh round of debate over “how many professional sports teams….” or “how many stadiums does this state need….?” set against the question of how we find money to help the poor, fund child protection workers and fill potholes.

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