March 2, 2012 by staff
Vikings Stadium, It has taken the Minnesota Vikings nearly a decade to get this far in their quest for a new stadium. There is a lot more work to be done.
Gov. Mark Dayton and Vikings owners Mark and Zygi Wilf unveiled plans Thursday for a new, $975 million stadium that would be built nearly on top of the Metrodome site in downtown Minneapolis. The deal, assembled behind closed doors in recent weeks, was a key step toward getting a plan in front of state lawmakers and other civic leaders for approval.
Still, the plan is a far cry from becoming reality. “Every single politician is now going to have to make a tough decision,” said Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak, a stadium booster who must now persuade a majority of skeptical city council members to dedicate sales tax proceeds to the effort.
Also standing between the Vikings and a new stadium are 201 state lawmakers, all of them up for reelection later this year and many of them unconvinced that $737 million in public money should be contributed to the plan.
“I can’t see a way for me to vote for it,” said Sen. Jeff Hayden, a Minneapolis Democrat. “My constituents have weighed in consistently that they do not want public financing of private stadiums.”
Backers of the proposal said it would benefit not just the Vikings but the state of Minnesota. Under their deal, the team would collect all stadium revenue raised as a result of football games there. But the stadium would be owned by a new public entity that would keep all other profits, from other sporting events to rock concerts and the like.
The deal calls for covering the $975 million construction tab with $398 million from the state, $150 million from the city of Minneapolis, and $427 million from the Vikings. In addition, Minneapolis would eventually provide another $189 million in operating costs while the team would kick in another $327 million to that end.
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