What Does Dome Collapse Do To Stadium Debate?

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Minnesota Vikings’ long push for a new stadium has been stuck in neutral for more than a decade, but scary images of the Metrodome’s wrecked roof might accelerate the process.

While stadium workers started the cleanup and repair Sunday after a storm that brought 17 inches of snow and wind gusts up to 30 mph the day before, the Vikings left for Detroit, where their game against the New York Giants was moved by the NFL for Monday.

Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission chairman Roy Terwilliger said he’s optimistic the roof can be repaired in time for the Vikings to host the Chicago Bears in their next scheduled home game on Dec. 20, giving workers eight days to replace three damaged panels and re-raise the Teflon roof.

Video: Watch The Dome Collapse

Vikings vice president of public affairs and stadium development Lester Bagley declined to comment on how the collapse could affect the team’s push for a new facility. Their lease at the Metrodome runs through the 2011 season, and they’ve said they won’t renew it.

“We’ve worked particularly close with the Vikings over the last two or three years on plans and designs and steps and obviously it can’t help but call attention to the fact that the facility is 28 years old,” Terwilliger said. “It’s one of the oldest facilities in the NFL. There’s a problem when we run this risk of not being able to play a game, because it’s a huge economic hit to the team. But the policymakers will handles these issues.”

Giants chief executive and co-owner John Mara said he believes this “bolsters their argument why they need a new stadium. For this to happen nowadays is pretty incredible,” he said.

State leaders have said there’s little they can do for the team until they solve a $6 billion plus deficit. The Vikings are working on a new proposal to present to the Legislature after the session begins in January. They’ve been contacted by two Los Angeles-based groups interested in bringing an NFL team to the nation’s second-largest market, but so far they’ve said they remain “committed to finding a solution in Minnesota.”

The Vikings previously pledged roughly one-third of the cost for a new stadium, estimated at $700 million or far more depending on the model and the site, but they’ve had difficulty getting traction on public funding to pay for the rest.

Gov.-elect Mark Dayton stopped by the Metrodome Sunday morning to “make a quick assessment for future decisions,” his spokeswoman Katie Tinucci said, without elaborating. She said Dayton wanted to thank the workers for their cleanup efforts, and he described the scene inside as “eerie.”

Tinucci said it was too early for Dayton to comment on how the collapse could affect the team’s desire for a new stadium, but Dayton supported the concept during his campaign. He has said he’d support a stadium proposal if the public benefits outweigh the public’s cost, without being specific.

There’s a lot of work to be done at the dome before the next scheduled game on Dec. 20, considering the scene inside the cold, darkened stadium following the 5 a.m. collapse.

Snow plopped onto the artificial turf through a gaping hole above the 30-yard-line, as a piece of the Teflon-coated fiberglass roof roughly 10 yards long flapped in the wind. It glowed eerily in the sunlight dangling not far above the field. Speakers that hang from the roof were still safely above the seats and the field.

The seats sit low enough that it appears people would have been out of harm’s way had the roof fallen during a game

“I don’t see any real impact on the seating,” MSFC director of facilities and engineering Steve Maki said.

Maki said he was coordinating with the original manufacturer and installer of the material, Birdair Inc. of Amherst, N.Y., on a plan to fix the roof. It has now fallen four times, all due to heavy snow, since the stadium opened nearly 30 years ago. But the last time was 27 years ago — when a collapse in April 1983 forced postponement of a Twins baseball game. Terwilliger said this was the worst of the collapses.

“This just came very fast. It was heavily loaded, and the wind was just unbelievable,” said Maki, who halted the snowmelt process and called his crew down from the roof Saturday night out of concern for their safety. “It almost knocked me on my rear end.”

The heat inside was turned up, and hot air was pumped between the roof’s layers, but that wasn’t enough to keep it from giving out.

“There were no injuries, which we’re thankful for,” said Bill Lester, the MSFC’s executive director.

The game between the Vikings and Giants had already been postponed by 31 hours, after Saturday’s blizzard kept the Giants from getting to Minneapolis on time. They stayed the night in Kansas City instead.

The city got 17.1 inches of snow during the storm that started Friday night and ended around 10 p.m. Saturday, said James McQuirter, a National Weather Service meteorologist. He said the storm was one of the five largest to hit the Twin Cities. Some surrounding communities got more than 21 inches of snow, McQuirter said.

The Metrodome roof is 10 acres of Teflon-coated fiberglass that is supported by 20 90-horsepower fans. It weighs roughly 580,000 pounds. Maki said they keep some replacement fabric in stock with Birdair, and that the MSFC has received offers of extra material from officials in Syracuse, N.Y., and Detroit.

Maki said he didn’t anticipate any problem with the cleanup of the turf or the rest of the stadium. It’ll just be a matter of getting that white, puffy roof up again to cover the field and frame the east side of the city’s skyline.

“I remain optimistic, but we’ll have to wait and see,” Maki said.

(© Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

  • http://packerhater.wordpress.com packerhater

    The people in MN are very stupid indeed.They will let the Vikings walk and in 10 years or so get a new team and pay over 10x the cost that it will take now to keep them here.Lakers , North Stars anybody?

    • Wisdom


      • Mark

        Well Said Wisdome

      • vcolson

        $100 says you were the last picked at kickball.

  • Kwai Chang Caine

    They let the roof collapse on purpose to fuel the debate!, We get the point!

    • Peter

      It is entirely possible that MSFC’s actions hastened, or even occasioned, the collapse. I haven’t yet seen any detailed explanation of the mechanism of collapse.

      Personally, I’d be glad if they left. If you need to build your self-construct around a sports franchise, you can leave with them. There are plenty of more worthy and worthwhile areas of human endeavor to which the state can apply its attention.

      • ask4j

        Amen! Well said and WE ARE NOT IN THE MINORITY!!!!!!!! If a vote were ever allowed during Polenty’s reign, this would be abundantly evident. What America is about is NOT taxing the poor to pamper the elite!

      • vcolson

        Move to Sioux Falls, Peter.
        It’s plenty cold, and I heard they just built a new a human endeavor facility.

      • Frank

        Nfl guy, america is about freedom, rights and a whole lot of important stuff, not football. Football is just one of the bread and circuses distracting us from real issues. Don’t get me wrong a good game once in a while may be ok, but what about the issues that really matter?

      • Cool J

        Sometimes you need a little feel goods in life like football to distract us from all what is wrong in the World. I sure dont want to let go of something that makes me the happiest. Thanks Frank

      • NFL in MN

        Peter, nothing provides more excitement to more people than NFL football. It is what America is about, and Im sorry to let you know you are in the minority.

  • New Stadium is going to happen

    Goog News Everyone, we are getting a new stadium. When the governor elect calls the situation eerie, its gonna happen. You cant hold a NFL game with 60,000 people and have the roof collapse at a moments notice. We live in MN and snow happens all the time. Its no longer a suitable option to play in the Metrodome.

    • Wisdom

      The situation is not eerie, Mark Dayton is eerie.

      • bridget

        I agree Dayton is VERY eerie but he has said on video that he wants a new stadium. And when have you ever seen a spoiled rich kid who didn’t get his way? He’s bought elections for crying out loud!! If he wants a stadium, he will get it!!

    • Mark

      Dayon being elected means nothing and it is not a done deal unlike dayton other elected officials know where the money could be used like public safter and health and jobs.

  • sosad

    Is this a surprise? Of course not. Remember the bridge 35. My house is sinking, the house inspector told me this normal in Minnneapolis. The city of Minneapolis (I bought the house from it) proposed me to fix few items, that do not include the basement with large cracks. So before I lose my family and myself, I am leaving the house, this is gonna give 10 years without credit.

  • Stadiumhater

    I am tired of everyone saying the public should fund it because they’ve the other stadiums. We were never given an option! If you people think they should have a new stadium then you fund it! They have never won a Super Bowl! At least the Twins have won 2 world series even if the last one was 20 years ago!

    • econ 101

      i bet you will be complaining when the team leaves and takes all the tax generating money with them….

      • Wisdom

        Like the Vikings are going to solve or even make a dent in our fiscal problems? Maybe if we spent less (on the Vikings) we wouldn’t be 6 Billion Dollars in the red. And now you want us to spend another 1 Billion Dollars on the Vikings? What planet are you from?

      • PolySci 101

        If there really was a net benefit for taxes they would be screaming the numbers at the general public. All we hear is silence.

  • build it

    If you build it they will come… make it 80,000 capacity! KC sells out and they dont have near the population we do!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • ask4j

      Get the picture “we” the majority don’t want it!

    • vcolson

      You’re one exclamation point short from really driving it home that you’re excited. .

  • John K

    80 year wait for Packer Season Tickets. This can happen in Minnesota as well.. lets get this done already.

  • Dump the Dome

    Where will the Vikes play next Monday nights game against the Bears ?
    Seems like a long shot that it’s fixed by then…

    • Wisdom

      How about the TCF Bank Stadium?

  • Ben Witz

    You know… my employer can’t go to the voters to ask for tax money to build a new office building. The Vikings are nothing more than an American for-profit corporation, no different than Wal Mart or H&R Block. Their sole purpose is to make money. If they want to make money and run as a business, they need to figure out how to pay for their work places like any other corporation does.

  • Sam I am

    Problem is your employer doesnt bring people to their TV sets every Sunday for NFL games. Your employer isnt exciting, and thats what people want.

    • DerWitz

      Sam, Exactly! Roman Emperor Juvenal said “Give them bread and circuses and they will never revolt!” You are Right! Sports fans are like chattel………they can be lead around by the noses and will always follow what the TV tells them.
      Congratulations on being so ummmmmm smart?

  • nostatemoneyforbillionaires

    If they build a new stadium I hope it seats about 100000 so then all of those whining the state should have to build a stadium will have to put their money where their mouth is to watch a game

  • 100k All Day

    The vikings sellout their 60,000 venue every game. Selling out 100,000 would be no problem.

  • Stacy Frampton

    Its pretty obvious the dome is no longer a long term option.

  • Dome=Dangerous

    Has anybody seen the cracks in the columns at the Metrodome?? sit in the upper level rows 25+ and you will see what I mean.

  • Diane

    why not put a movable roof on the dome?

  • mike K

    @Diane. the metrodome was constructed in 1979. Putting a retract on the dome isnt smart. Thats like putting a sunroof on your 1983 Reliant.

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  • Brian

    LET THEM LEAVE. There a FARM team at best.

    Unemplyment, foreclosures, scools being closed are you people serious.


    • DocCozy

      Thank You! You are Correct………….I’m convinced that most sports fans are like Heroin addicts………they’d sell their mother to keep on the needle. Sad commentary on our “culture?”……….if that word fits?

      • Minnesota

        Doc Cozy you my friend have bigger issues than one might like to admit ? so why don’t you just tie it off and and relax a llittle bit???

      • bridget

        Kind of like Obamatrons?

      • Diggity

        Since you bring up the term “liberal”, I thought it would be interesting to point something out. The stadium debate is one area where philosphies seem to be flipped. Most self described “conservatives” I know (aka Republicans), are for taxpayer money being used to fund a stadium for a community. Most self described “liberals” I know (aka Democrats) are against taxpayer money being used. It’s like bizzaro world. Up is down and down is up!

        So, if you’re a Republican and you’re for the stadium…. that’s OK. Virtually nobody is 100% committed their ideology. Just remember next time you complain about your taxes, that in at least one case, you do support public funding for something that is not a “Basic” government function.

        I am a Vikings fan, but I think the argument against makes more sense. They are a for-profit organization. Yes, the community values the team, but then where do you draw the line? My community doesn’t have a movie theater. Should the state fund 2/3 of a new AMC movie theater in my neighborhood? It would cost 1/1000th of a stadium, and it would provide entertainment to the community 365 days a year. No, I don’t think they should.

      • Far Left

        DocMoron, you arent liberal are you?

    • Seanny

      Farm teams dont make it to the NFC championship. Im not sure what you are smoking. Even Detroit a much worse off city can build a nice venue for their lowly Lions.

      • Derex

        Holy concise data bamtan. Lol!

  • Brian

    LET THEM LEAVE. There a FARM team at best.

    Unemplyment, foreclosures, scools being closed are you people serious.


  • ross in stcloud

    Lets just give them their stadium already. I dont want to hear any more whining.

  • SteveinStPaul

    Brian you have it right. It’s just a football team. Let’s take care of the people around here FIRST. If the team cannot provide a place to play in then maybe they better look closer at the amount of money that is being wasted on the players.

    • Kaylea

      It’s much easier to undersatnd when you put it that way!

  • Fingers Crossed

    crossing my fingers they can figure out financing for a new stadium. I think if they get together and divide it up between new taxes, state run video gaming, license plates, fans, hotel tax, etc they can do it…. hell, make the Wilfs pay for 40% instead of 33%. Lets work together to keep the Vikings in this state, How boring will this state be in the Winter without NFL football. Come on guys.

    • E

      Make that pig pay 50% if not more.

  • Tom

    No public money for private business!! We are still waiting to see if any gratitude will be offered by Wall Street for their bailout. “JOBS” Politicians should be cautious about promising public funds. The state is deep in the red and personal incomes are already overstretched to meet basic needs!!
    If the Vikings go packing, they will be missed; for awhile.

  • Chantal

    Take my $$, a few extra dollars isnt going to kill me. I would rather pay more and keep the team here. Lets take a vote.

    • Terry

      Then pay more Chantal. The Vikes can setup a “charity” fund for people like you to chip in to pay for the stadium.

      As for the rest of us, we don’t want to pay for a business that could operate without taxpayer funding if they actually planned for it.

  • Dave

    from a quick poll, it looks like most people on here are Pro-Stadium. thats good news for a Vikes fan like me!!

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