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Will A Stadium Bill Take Off With New Commissioner?

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(credit: CBS) Pat Kessler
Pat Kessler knows Minnesota politics. He's been on the beat long...
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By Pat Kessler, WCCO-TV

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – If you look at the Metrodome today, you may think not much has changed since the collapse during December’s blizzard. But behind the scenes, there’s a lot of activity.

Vikings officials toured the Dome Friday, and Gov. Mark Dayton appointed Ted Mondale as his “point man” for a new stadium.

Mondale is no stranger to hard-ball politics, and he said Governor Dayton wants to pass a Vikings stadium this year.

“My appointment shows that hopefully he is serious about this,” said Mondale.

But along with a crisis-level budget deficit, a new Vikings stadium could be the most challenging political Rubik’s cube of the year — something Mondale says should already be done.

“The previous governor never was ever clear on what he would or wouldn’t sign. In fact, we wouldn’t be standing here today if the previous governor would have gotten involved at all,” said Mondale.

But a new Vikings stadium is not the only challenge for the sports commission. The collapse of the Metrodome roof represents a financial and political problem, too

The Sports Facilities Commission said the cables supporting the Teflon roof appear to be in good, working condition. And 10 separate roof panels are getting tested now to determine how extensive repairs will be or if the entire roof needs to be replaced.

“If there is a fix in which we, the Vikings, the Vikings fans, and all the other users of the stadium, can have confidence, then we can have people coming back in here and using it, then that would be our ultimate goal,” said Bill Lester with the Sports Facilities Commission.

Mondale says the collapse shows how valuable a stadium roof is and a new Vikings stadium must have one.

“The bill — if it passes to get the Governor’s signature — it going to have to fit the definition of what he calls ‘a people’s stadium,'” said Mondale.

A spokesman for the Vikings called Mondale an “excellent choice.”

In a statement, the team said, “We trust him, have worked with him, and respect his record of success in public service and the private sector.”

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