SBD/June 14, 2011/Facilities

Vikings, County Put Forward Plan To Pay For Road Improvements At Proposed Stadium

State unwilling to commit extra money to Arden Hills stadium road improvements
The Vikings and Ramsey County yesterday suggested a "combination of state grants, borrowing and tax exemptions to help pay for $131 million in road improvements needed" at their proposed stadium site in Arden Hills, but Minnesota Department of Transportation officials "warned that the plan may be more of a dead end," according to Olson & Duchschere of the Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE. The department indicated that "any state money used for roads near the stadium would count against the $300 million maximum state contribution that Gov. Mark Dayton has set for a stadium." The Vikings want to use the "entire state contribution on the $1 billion stadium itself." Ramsey County Commissioner Tony Bennett said if the plan "gets rejected, we'll continue to work until the train leaves the depot" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 6/14). Vikings VP/Public Affairs & Stadium Development Lester Bagley said, "We've been responsible. We've done everything we've been asked. And we think we're there." But in St. Paul, Dave Orrick notes the fact that "no lawmaker joined" Bagley and Bennett at a briefing on the plan yesterday "makes it difficult to gauge the likelihood of success" (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 6/14).

SITE WRANGLINGS: In St. Paul, Charley Walters cited sources as saying that the Vikings' only chance for a new stadium in a Minnesota state special legislative session, "under current circumstances, is to accept a Minneapolis offer on the Metrodome site" (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 6/12). However, a ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS editorial stated, "If we're going to make a stadium deal, now is the time, and the Arden Hills venue is the site." St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman "got it right" in terms of the financing of the stadium. His "proposal for a statewide, per-drink liquor tax to fund stadiums and arenas makes much more sense" than the current plan (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 6/12).
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