Vikings Exec Says Arden Hills Bid For Vikings Stadium On "Life Support"
Vikings Owners the Wilf family for months now “has clearly favored the Arden Hills site as their chosen location for a stadium, and while it still remains No. 1 on their list, it appears the team doesn't believe Ramsey County can handle the finances necessary to get the $1.1 billion stadium built,” according to Sid Hartman of the Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE. Vikings VP/Stadium Operations & Public Affairs Lester Bagley “made that very clear Thursday.” He said Arden Hills "is on life support" as far as a stadium site goes. Bagley said that it “appears that Minneapolis, with three possible stadium sites proposed, is in a better position to finance the stadium.” Meanwhile, Vikings Owner Zygi Wilf talked to Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton on Thursday “to try to encourage the governor to get something going with the Legislature on Tuesday.” For a period, it “appeared the stadium situation was making good progress but now there is talk, even by Dayton, that a bill won't be passed in this session.” That would be “a disaster, and it might make for a great possibility that the Vikings could move to Los Angeles, where they are set to build a stadium that will be ready by 2015” (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 1/20). Ramsey County Commissioner Tony Bennett, a key architect of the Arden Hills deal, said, "The Legislature needs to find the funding sources. We've jumped every friggin' hoop there is in town." In St. Paul, Frederick Melo writes Ramsey County stadium proponents “still may have one key advantage over Minneapolis: votes.” Arden Hills stadium proponents are “hoping for a Hail Mary pass.” For instance, Native American gaming interests “recently made a controversial pitch to a state Senate tax committee.” The White Earth Tribal Council -- the “largest American Indian tribe in the state -- has proposed a Twin Cities casino to fund the stadium” (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 1/20).