Joint Hearings For Vikes Stadium Conclude, Still No Solution
At a joint hearing of two state Senate Committees yesterday, the Minnesota Vikings and Ramsey County leaders continued to push their plan to put a $1.1 billion stadium at the site in Arden Hills. However, many within Minnesota’s legislative leadership believe the stadium should remain in Minneapolis.
The mayor and city council president of Minneapolis moved to keep the stadium in their downtown with promises of cheaper construction costs and an existing local sales tax to help defray costs.
Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak said city leaders prefer the proposal to build at the site of the Metrodome, where the team currently plays, but that it’s been difficult to choose between that and two proposals on the other side of downtown because Vikings officials won’t meet with city leaders or select one of the three Minneapolis sites.
Lester Bagley, Vikings vice president, said the team would do so. Bagly did note however, that team owners Zygi and Mark Wilf are interested in what they see as a greater “fan experience” offered by the 430-acre Arden Hills site. The Wilfs belive that site provides more room for team practice facilities, adjacent parking and tailgating and plenty of space for related retail, hotel and restaurant development. Zygi Wilf’s background is as a land developer.
“We worked hard to find a local partner, as we were instructed to do,” Bagley told the A.P. of the team’s agreement with Ramsey County. He said he think it’s important the Vikings stick with a local partner in Ramsey County.
It is widely believed that the three Minneapolis proposals each offer a cheaper total price tag, but owner Zygi Wilf has said that he would contribute less money to a Minneapolis stadium than he would to one in Arden Hills.