Dayton: Arden Hills “not viable,” all Vikings sites have problems

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton gave a talk yesterday about the passel of Vikings stadium plans issued last week, and the upshot was: You call these stadium plans?

“There’s not yet a stadium proposal with a complete and sufficient financial plan,” Dayton said. “No site’s sponsor has adequately resolved the major unanswered questions in order to merit the approval to proceed.”

And furthermore:

Dayton said he was disappointed that neither the Vikings nor Minneapolis or Ramsey County had come forward with workable finance, site and political plans. He called the proposal submitted by Minneapolis last week “meager.”

“You can’t make a decision until you have all the facts,” Dayton said.

In particular, Dayton all but ruled out the Arden Hills site in Ramsey County that Vikings execs prefer, insisting that it’s “not financially viable” and that “unless the Legislature is willing to change its insistence on a voter referendum before Ramsey County can impose any kind of tax increase, the only two feasible sites become the Metrodome and Linden Avenue, both in Minneapolis.” But the Minneapolis sites have issues as well, not least that nobody’s quite sure how to pay for them either.

Meanwhile, the chief stadium bill author in the Minnesota state house, Rep. Morrie Lanning, told the Minneapolis Star Tribune that while Dayton may have picked a front-running site, he has not: “I’m telling you, as stadium author, that’s not where I’m at.” At the same time, the rector of the Basilica of St. Mary, which is adjacent to the proposed Linden Avenue site, reiterated his opposition to the plan, saying he’s concerned about both traffic issues and possible damage to the basilica from construction.

And as for the Metrodome, Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak’s favored site? The Star Trib reports:

Dayton said the Metrodome location could work for a new stadium, but he was concerned that in 30 years, the site had never spurred any nearby economic development.

Ah, yes, let’s blame the Metrodome site for that. Because everyone knows that all other stadiums have sparked huge development booms nearby.

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7 comments on “Dayton: Arden Hills “not viable,” all Vikings sites have problems

  1. You mean to tell me that when people visit a stadium they don’t go out and spend $200 across the street every single time?


  2. If more economic development had taken place around the HHH Metrodome, then parking would have been even more difficult for sports events in Minneapolis’ Downtown East!! To critics who complain about the lack of development around the Twins’ second Minnesota home, I say wake up!!!

  3. Who was the governor when they built the new baseball stadium for the Twins? I sure wish Dayton had been in power at that time…

  4. That would be Tim Pawlenty, momentary Republican presidential darling. And his tack on the Twins stadium battle was mostly to throw his hands up in the air and let the legislature deal with it — not sure whether that or Dayton’s hands-on approach is more productive, given that the current governor appears to be the only one keeping the Vikings campaign alive (if you can call this alive).

  5. There is some economic development around the Metrodome. There is the Star Tribune building, a hotel, and parking lots. However most of the development that took place was a few blocks north in the warehouse district. The T-Wolves added a few parking garages and Target Center, and the Twins eventually turned a vacant lot into Target Field. The problem in other cases, like new Busch Stadium, is that there is nearby economic development.

  6. Sandy, I would take a guess that the people in charge of the Saint Mary’s Basilica own the nearby land proposed for a new football stadium. I know not the answer for now, however.

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