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Elizabethton Twins will be back in 2017

John Thompson • Updated Dec 15, 2016 at 12:10 AM

ELIZABETHTON — The Elizabethton Twins will be back for the 2017 Appalachian League season.

But their fate after that? That’s still on deck.

The Minnesota Twins told Elizabethton Mayor Curt Alexander about the one-year extension of the arrangement with the city on Wednesday.

Brad Steil, director of Minor League operations for the Minnesota Twins, wrote in an email to Alexander that “I talked to Mike (Mains, general manager for the Elizabethton Twins) earlier today about our plans to play the 2017 season in Elizabethton.”

Steil said the commitment to continue playing in Elizabethton doesn’t extend past the 2017 season “but we still want to pursue a long-term facility solution to stay in Elizabethton. As I indicated to Mike, the next 60 days will be critical to the future of the project.”

The announcement came a month after the Elizabethton City Council agreed to a proposal for a $3.2 million upgrade to the Elizabethton Twins’ home field, Joe O’Brien Field. City Council hopes the Minnesota Twins will provide $600,000 towards the renovations.

In his letter to Alexander, Stiel wrote “this one-year extension of our arrangement is only a temporary solution and is not intended to be a commitment to remain in Elizabethton into the future. Our focus remains on finding a long-term facility that meets the needs of both minor league standards and the specific needs of the Minnesota Twins. We will continue to explore all viable alternatives for such a facility.

“Rest assured, the Minnesota Twins value the longstanding partnership and look forward to receiving greater detail on Elizabethton’s planned renovations for Joe O’Brien Field.”

Alexander said an Elizabethton Twins Task Force, which came up with the $3.2 million proposal and provided ideas on how to make the team self supporting, will continue to work during the critical 60 days.

Alexander said he was “very pleasantly surprised to receive this commitment to play in Elizabethton in 2017 and allow us the time we need to develop a long-range plan. I believe the Minnesota Twins value the continuous partnership we have maintained over the past 43 years.”

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