SBD/May 9, 2011/Facilities

Minneapolis Set To Unveil Proposal For New Vikings Stadium At Metrodome Site

Minneapolis reportedly would pay about 25% of cost for stadium at Metrodome site
Minneapolis officials today will announce a proposal "to build a new stadium for the Minnesota Vikings on the Metrodome site that calls for the city to pay roughly 25 percent of the cost," according to a source cited by Mike Kaszuba of the Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE. The source said that the plan "would use sales taxes from the city's convention center for the project and also would provide money for renovation of Target Center." It also would "change the debt structure for Target Center." The source added that "no city property taxes would be used for the Vikings stadium." The plan "comes just days" after Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission Chair Ted Mondale, Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton's chief stadium negotiator, said that the Vikings "were pursuing the stadium with the understanding the team would have to raise its contribution to roughly 40 percent of the cost." Kaszuba notes Minneapolis is "competing with Ramsey County, which wants to lure the Vikings to suburban Arden Hills" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 5/9).

GOING FOR THE END ZONE: In Minneapolis, Kaszuba & Brandt reported Minneapolis City Council President Barb Johnson and Mayor R.T. Rybak "met privately with Vikings owner Zygi Wilf on Friday," and Johnson said that the city "would likely release its proposal this week." In a "sign of how much the stadium landscape has changed, the city's last-minute maneuvering comes almost exactly a year after Minneapolis officials balked at using convention center taxes for a Vikings stadium." Much of the city's "urgency also comes from Thursday's announcement that Hennepin County, which helped finance Target Field in downtown Minneapolis, would not do likewise for the Vikings." At the same time, Ramsey County is "seen as further along and may announce its own plan that could include a countywide sales tax increase plan this week." Ramsey County officials also met with Wilf and a top NFL official Friday, and Mondale said the Vikings are "clearly very close to doing something with Ramsey" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 5/8). Also in Minneapolis, Kaszuba & Olson noted the Vikings' reported pledge to contribute around 40% of the stadium cost -- which the team "would not confirm or deny on Friday -- would push the team closer to what Dayton has insisted, and also what many legislators have said is necessary for the proposal to have any chance" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 5/7).

HEAD FOR THE HILLS? In St. Paul, Tom Powers wrote, "It's difficult to predict whether the Vikings will get a new facility any time soon. This is going to be a tough sell." But if they "do come to an agreement on one, it's difficult to imagine a better location" than the Arden Hills site. Powers: "My guess is that Vikings ownership already has decided on the Arden Hills site." Even though there will be "extra costs included in building roads, the Vikings should be able to recoup those." There is "plenty of room for tailgating in Arden Hills, and the team could play at the Dome while the new place is built." Powers added, "The way this dance ritual works is that the Vikings have to dangle the possibility of playing in Minneapolis one more time, just to make sure they wring every last drop out of the Arden Hills people" (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 5/8). But in Minneapolis, Sid Hartman wrote he "can't get the least bit excited about the Arden Hills site," which "has so many infrastructure and soil problems that the cost will be prohibitive." Hartman: "Even though the Vikings owners won't divulge their favorite site, I am convinced that it is still the Metrodome. ... However, I am also convinced that if a stadium bill isn't passed this year, the Vikings stadium will become a reality in 2012" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 5/8).
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