NCAA Visits Twin Cities, Beginning Monthly Planning Meetings Before Final Four 2019

June 24, 2018 10:38 PM

The event is still about 10 months out, but planning for the NCAA Men's College Basketball Final Four is well underway.

June marks the start of monthly visits by the NCAA to the Twin Cities, and organizers are gearing up for April. 

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"It takes a lot of work to make it look easy," said Kate Mortenson, president and CEO of the Minneapolis Final Four Local Organizing Committee. 

RELATED: Fan Jam Event Brings Excitement of 2019 Final Four Statewide

Mortenson and the Minneapolis Final Four Local Organizing Committee just wrapped up a visit from the NCAA, hosting about 40 different meetings with city and county leaders.

"Every month we're going to be drilling down to a deeper level of detail," Mortenson said. 

Included in the meetings are Minneapolis Police, announced as the lead law enforcement agency for the event.

RELATED: Minneapolis Final Four Expected to Bring $142 Million in Economic Impact

"The public safety planning for an event like a Final Four is very complex, it's very detailed," Mortenson said. 

Mapping out the festivities, the Minneapolis Convention Center is home to Fan Fest, a low-cost, interactive option for people. As far as the three-day free music festival, that location is still up in the air. 

"We certainly were walking Nicollet Mall from end to end, visiting some of the venues that are indoors, looking at some venues that are outdoors and putting it together like a puzzle," Mortenson said. 

RELATED: Minneapolis On the Clock to Host Next NCAA Men's Final Four

The Final Four hasn't been in Minneapolis with the current public transportation system that includes light rail, and Metro Transit tells 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS they learned a lot from the Super Bowl that was held at U.S. Bank Stadium earlier this year. 

"I think everybody is taking a sigh of relief because we'd certainly be having a different conversation if things had gone awry there," said Howie Padilla, Metro Transit spokesperson. 

Padilla tells 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS demonstrations shutting down light rail on Super Bowl Sunday, challenging weather and high capacity crowds all played a role, and could again in April.

RELATED: Final Four Organizing Committee Heads to San Antonio to Prep

"There's going to need to be some adjustments that need to be made," Padilla said. 

Metro Transit laid out a transportation plan for the Super Bowl, and Padilla promises they'll be ready for the crowds that a Final Four brings.

"Certainly not everything is going to be cookie cutter but with the right amount of information in advance and the right amount of planning, I'm sure we're going to make it through," Padilla said. 

Each piece is progress, but organizers realize their work stretches beyond what happens inside U.S. Bank Stadium. 

"When we look back at this meeting 10 months from now we will hardly believe how far we've come from that first look," Mortenson said. 

The Final Four Minneapolis dates are April 6-8, 2019.

 

Credits

Brett Hoffland

Copyright 2018 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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