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MINNEAPOLIS-Hennepin County commissioners voted Tuesday to recommend a $478 million, open-air Minnesota Twins ballpark in downtown Minneapolis that would be built using a countywide sales tax increase.

A sharply divided board voted 4-3 in favor of a resolution asking the Legislature’s approval of an extra county sales tax that would help fund the new 42,000-seat ballpark. The next step will be for the county to present the proposal to the Minnesota Legislature. If it passes there, the Hennepin County Board would have to vote again to approve the tax hike.

The hearing took some four hours, then the board debated it for an additional four hours in what was one of the longest board meetings in a decade. An estimated 50 people testified and about 200 people filled the commission chambers for debate and testimony that ran about eight hours.

Opponents objected to the plan, especially to the lack of a public referendum Hennepin County requires to approve the additional sales tax. Supporters argued that the county would benefit from a new stadium and the development that would spring up around it.

The $478 million project (a cost that includes bonding and site preparation expenses) would be financed by $125 million from the Twins and $235 million from an additional sales tax in the county–a 0.15% sales tax that would add 15 cents to every $100 purchase.

The Twins and the county announced last month the plan to move the team from the 23-year-old Metrodome to a new open-air stadium in the Warehouse District of downtown Minneapolis.

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