Commissioner: Vikes ‘Close’ To Arden Hills Deal

By Courtney King, NewsRadio 830 WCCO and Rachel Slavik, WCCO-TV

ARDEN HILLS, Minn. (WCCO/AP) — Gov. Mark Dayton said Friday he met privately with Minnesota Vikings owners Zygi and Mark Wilf to discuss state funding of a new football stadium, and that he hoped a site would be picked soon as the list of possibilities narrowed to two.

Dayton met with the Wilfs late Thursday. The team owners also met with officials in Ramsey County, where several county board members have been pushing the idea of putting the stadium on the site of a former Army ammunition plant in suburban Arden Hills, about 10 miles north of St. Paul.

There is only one issue — road access — that stands in the way of a deal.

Ramsey County Commissioner Tony Bennett spoke with Dave Lee on WCCO’s The Morning Show.

“I want to put the deal together. I think this is the best location. When you look at it they have 260 acres versus 40 or 50 acres tucked away in downtown, the Vikings agree,” explained Bennett. “They can go back to the days of what football has been all about — tailgating and having a good time.”

WCCO’s Dave Lee Interviews Tony Bennett

“This gives them a new identity. They can do tailgating like they do over in Green Bay,” said Bennett. “Tailgating is something we use to do here when it was out at the Met.”

Bennett said the roads haven’t been kept up to standards proposed site.

“I can tell you that 35W and the 694 in that area need to be upgraded and that costs dollars. That shouldn’t be part of a stadium deal. Those are the people’s roads.”

According to Bennett, it would save money by not putting a $260 million retractable roof on the stadium and instead spending the money on roads.

“There are people that use those roads every day. It’s not just the Vikings. It’s a gateway to the north. A gateway to our tourism industry, going up north,” he said. “Watch next Friday, the number of people that go through this interchange.”

Bennett said he believes the legislature is looking at the improvements seriously and the Transportation Committee chairs of the House and the Senate are starting to look at it and understand it.

“If that little portion can be taken care of: everybody being able to move through that seven days a week. We not only need this for the Vikings, we need this for the people,” he said.

“It’s an important issue from the Vikings perspective in terms of getting people in and out. But for Commissioner Bennett and I it’s an important issue because this is not just about 10 games that the Vikings have, these roads are here 365 days a year,” agreed Ramsey County Commission Rafael Ortega. “These roads were on a priority list 7 or 8 years ago to be done. We wouldn’t be having this discussion if they were done.”

Ortega added, “We’re saying let’s move them up on the priority list. The citizens need these roads whether there’s a Vikings stadium here or not.”

And where would the money to fix the roads come from? According to Bennett, some of it would be federal money.

“It’s an 80/20 split normally, except that some of these projects it takes a little bit to do them. We’ve come up with a solution to help ease that over a period of years,” explained Bennett, “but we still haven’t got the powers to look at that portion of it.”

Overall, Bennett said, they want to make this a complete experience for the people.

Dayton said he doesn’t have a preference on the site, but he hopes the Vikings will have to choose a location soon so the Legislature will have time to crunch the numbers.

“I told them I just want it to be in Minnesota,” said Dayton.

(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

  • r

    BEWARE Ramsey County – Anoka County got burned Big-Time by slick Ziggy.

    • State wide tax to finance the stadium

      The owner of a business has the right to go after the right deal. The Ramsey county sight is the right deal. I believe that since the entire state benefits from the Vikings that there should be cross the board tax on bars and restaurants through out the state. That way when the small town folks get bored with their small town life they will have the Big city to visit and enjoy. The Vikings are a state wide institution and consequently everyone should pay for the new dome stadium in Ramsey County

      • rotten team anyway

        sports is a-muse-ment (muse=think; a=to not//amusement: to not think.

        Look at the mess “not thinking,” has gotten the world into. The slope is greased
        the grade is steep and we are sliding already. Howwww———–can this fix anything?
        Mind Siege by Tim LaHaye. There are consequences for all actions.
        Never give money to rich people. The way things are heading there will be no jobs to drive to and no money for the tourism up north.
        Taxes paid to “not think?”

    • The Crux of the Biscuit

      The Army Corp of Engineers would not have let the stadium be built on the Anoka site, it was too wet.

    • A

      I really hope this isn’t a ruse! I would be very disappointed in the Wilf’s if they are playing cat & mouse again. I really hope it ends up in Ramsey county. Hennepin County has the Twins’ stadium!

  • Carl

    The soil is contaminated at the munitions plant site. Wonder how much that will cost to clean up?

    • The Crux of the Biscuit

      It was supposedly ‘cleaned up’ some time back.

  • EdW

    I do NOT want this in Ramsey County. I KNOW this will raise my taxes and I don’t want to have to pay for it.

    • Maddog

      I agree with you EdW. At first they wanted to move them to my county Anoka. I say move them to LA. They’re an embarrassment to this state. And as AP said they NFL is modern day slavery. And this state shouldn’t promote slavery. that’s why we whoopeed the south in the big war.

      • Johnny Rain Cloud

        Madd dog,
        The vikings aren’t an embarrassment, it’s funny to see how people don’t want to see a new stadium built because of one bad season. Why don’t you move to detroit and become a lions fan. Pretty sure they have had it worse than the vikings. Before you even think “Well the vikings haven’t won a super bowl!” It’s ok because the vikings aren’t the only team to not win one. Plus, the vikings are not even the top team to move (if they were to) to LA, it’s top team is San Diego.

        I like your comment about not wanting to drive to hickville to watch a vikings game. couldn’t agree with you less! I would rather tailgate in a parking lot full of fans rather than your mom and sister in the parking lot of Deja Vu.

        • Maddog

          Yea but the Lions have won an NFL Championship. The Vikings lost to the
          Aint’s in the playoffs. That is the embaraassment.

          • Build it

            The Vikings have won an NFL championship too, numskull.

            • Maddog

              Yea but they got beat by Kansas City in the Superbowl that year.When Detroit won there were no superbowls. So at that time it was like winning the Superbowl numskull.

            • chuckster

              i don’t remember the viking winning an nfl championship ?

              • Skol

                The Vikings have won one NFL championship, in 1969, prior to the league’s merger with the American Football League (AFL).

                • chuckster

                  thanks for the correction, i remember the loss to the chiefs, i didn’t realize the game against the browns was for the an nfl championship, i guess it has been 50 years of greatness.

        • Randy

          Who care where they are in the standings. Move to LA —– NO NEW TAXES PLAIN AND SIMPLE

    • v

      and nobody wants to drive to hickville to watch a football game.

      • HUH!?

        hickville do you even know where it is?? lol

      • The Crux of the Biscuit

        Not a problem, just stay home.

  • tom

    This would be the best site IMO. Minneapolis is too ghetto. I hate going down there and seeing all the homeless drugged up people next to strip clubs.

    the nfl is the biggest money generating out of any pro sporting events out there today. If we were to lose a pro team in MN it would be foolish to let the vikes go.

  • Jeffery Gauss

    Move to California and get a stadium that was built for you! I’m not a Vikings fan and I don’t go up north!

    • Alfa

      its about time for you o move to Ca, If you hate sports…nobody is perfect but you r going to far away…JUST GO AWAY.


    • johnnycmoun

      what don’t you leave MN Jeffery babe – you are the type of person know one wants to be around anyway… get outta here…

    • captainobvious

      There never was a stadium built in Los angeles those are computer rendered pictures, I cannot believe theres still an idiot out there that doesn’t know that, the guy that wants to build it still doesn’t even have financing yet

  • Richard in Minneapolis

    The only issue is road access?

    What about public transit access?

    • M

      Exactly my thought. I see it as if they put the stadium at this site, they will say now we need the light rail to go to the stadium.

  • Terrance

    Let’s see. “I am not a fan so move to California”. Perfect. Well Jeffy, I don’t read books so I think we should tear down all the libraries. Great argument. Nice to see you don’t go up north. One less pinhead I have to worry about running into. You most certainly vote left with that attitude.

  • Cindy

    Correct Carl and a number of Moundsview residents with cancer in close vicinity years later. I read a EPA report, don’t drink the water folks and I am NOT kidding.

  • stace34

    So know we don’t just have to pay for the stadium, but we will have to pay for the infastructure needed for the new stadium Awesome.

  • Alfa

    Most of this stupid comments here are from Packers fans…yeah greeen bay fans…they lived here in Mn happy…but they hate the Vikes…well we hated green bay 24/7/365

    great news about our stadium…Go Vikings.

    • we love you AP!

      The difference between the Packers and the Queens….They don’t call it title town for nothing!
      The Pakers are a publicly owned team….the Queens…..they just stink! (Other than AP! We love you AP!!!)

      • Werger

        I thought Detroit was called title town because of the Red Wings. Just how many title towns are there?

  • Joe

    We need to do whatever it takes to keep the Vikings in MN. The second most important thing people look forward to on Sunday’s (besides church, religion) is watching the Vikings with their friends and family.

    • Paul

      Watch them on TV when they play in LA

  • Chris
  • Chris

    Maybe the whole state should impose a modest tax like Hennepin county got stuck with to pay for it. The taxes benefit the state not just Minneapolis. Mpls pays for trafiic and police so there really isnt a net benefit

  • Peter Malm

    there ain’t have a bus lines near the new Viking Stadium. Disabled rider need use the bus to the sport games.

  • Randy

    Put the roads in and move the Vikings to California Sc rew Zigi

    • sc rew zigi


  • Just being a JERK

    The kicker…the Arden Hills they are talking about is in CA!!!!!

    BYE BYE QUEENS……take the Wolves with you…..

  • M B

    Didn’t Jesse Ventura Offer to create a fund for people to send in money to pay for the Stadium if they wanted it so bad back in 1999? How much was collected? Less than $100,000 which was then returned, wasn’t it? I say do the same now. I bet the results will be the same because the only ones who can afford to build a stadium aren’t willing to shell out the cash when they can make others do it. That’s why they’re rich in the first place.

    Also, there’s a reason that land was never developed. There’s a threat of unexploded ordinance (yes, they actually tested the shells and ammunition made there) and of ground contamination. Don’t you think a huge piece of prime land like that would have been developed by now if they could have? The tests will most likely show huge amounts of contamination- which we will have to pay to clean up, I’m sure. But the games will be a big bang…

  • blahblah

    Build it, tax me tax you, we’re taxed so much you can’t even notice new taxes anymore besides I have a job, perhaps some of you chumps should have done something with your lives, or not racked up so much debt with credit cards and 2nd mortgages, and paying 175% what your houses were worth to start with, it will get built because they now if we move them 5 years down the road we’ll be trying to get a team, and it will cost twice as much, you understand simpletons……….

    • blahblah can have all the extra taxes he/she wants

      don’t notice new taxes? Armageddon is coming quicker than you think.
      seen the food and gas prices lately???????????
      games are for kids.
      line up the lawyers around the equator.
      line the politicians up along the meridian.
      What do you get?
      answer……………………….a better world.

    • M B

      You do realize that by insulting your audience you’ve thrown away any credibility you’ve hoped to gain, don’t you? Also, before implying that people are stupid and calling them simpletons I suggest that you take the time to properly use your own language, as it also detracts from your aforementioned lacking credibility.

      • whaaaaaaaaaaaat?

        M B
        ????????????? implying people are stupid and calling them simpletons????????????
        what are you reading anyway??????????????

        6:19pm comment to M B ??????????????

        • M B

          I was responding to blahblah. The indent for replies is not sufficient enough to clearly tell replies apart so mine looked like it was a reply to the one above it. I wish they’d fix that.

      • blahblah

        Im a realist, you can’t stop these things from happening, these decisions will not be made by regular people like us, those days are long over. I can’t believe people still go around and make comments about spelling and punctuation. These comments are quick retorts to other comments, doo u gett iot i’s thinkz i kan spel maybee dolt

  • Ziggy's gonna slip it to ya

    Arden Hills is a Ziggy ploy. He wants the farmer’s market and Hennepin county. He doesn’t want to pay for it though. He wants the dumb MN taxpayers to pay for it. And the crooked MN politicians to push it through without letting the taxpayers vote on it. You’ll see. Get ready to grab your ankles.

    • The Crux of the Biscuit



    suckassvikes. dont forget what is truly important here. millionaires need more money.

  • pretzeldude

    If you have the ability to own a professional sports team then you can build your own damn stadium. NO TAX DOLLARS !!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Look at Joe Robbie when he built what is now Sun Life Stadium. He raised and used his own money and NO TAX DOLLARS!
    Ziggy do the same you tightwad. Or move the Vikings to another state that you can sucker.

    • Jason

      Agree 100%

  • Jason

    Dayton “No stadium bill until budget for state”……. You lost my vote. Im scraping by without any assistance from the state now. Hard to raise my family on my modest income alone, and these ahats want to soak me for more. Is the government trying to make us all wards of the state???

  • Jason

    I take the time to type a well thought and sincere comment and im censored.

  • marlo

    I say the Vikings play 4 games each season at the TCF Bank, and 4 games each season at the Metrodome. Forget about a new stadium for Ziggy.

    • M B

      How many of hundreds of millions of dollars for EIGHT nights out of 365 in a year?

      Eight games.

      At least the twins play over 70 games in their new field.

      But EIGHT? Come on… Really? How many jobs are going to be created for 8 nights out of the year? I don’t see many concerts getting played there when the Xcel or the Target center are available and they have heating/AC. Monster truck rallies? Maybe. I am genuinely curious, what else would this multi-hundred-million-dollar facility be used for on the other 357 days of the year, assuming games don’t get snowed out and there’s more unused days? What is going to sustain all these businesses that are supposedly going to spring up to support the stadium? Do we have a huge chunk of land and businesses that just powers down for weeks on end waiting for an event?

  • Tc Radiodj

    Yea… this spot is prime if it was in the inner city. There is no other business out there to prosper. The roads would need a MAJOR change over and quite frankly, the vikes suck. They have as long as I’ve been around at least. I don’t waste my electricity to watch them. I would rather watch college or even high school kids play. At least they play for fun. No politics involved. No whiners that got a skinned knee but still get paid millions to sit on their fat a$$’s. If they want a new stadium, THEY can pay for it because they aren’t worth a pot to pi$$ in or a window to throw it out.

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