Referendum Talk For Vikings Stadium Heats Up

ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — One of the hot topics at the Minnesota State Fair and all over the state is the future of the Vikings and where they will play after this season.

The team’s lease at the Metrodome is up at the end of this season, and despite talk of a new stadium in Arden Hills and a special session at the legislature, so far that’s still just talk.

Governor Mark Dayton said Monday he would support a referendum that would allow Ramsey County Voters to decide on a sales tax increase. Supporters of the Arden Hills site worry that if the half cent sales tax was put before Ramsey County voters, it wouldn’t pass.

Speaking after appearing at the St. Paul Rotary Club on Tuesday, Vikings Owner Zygi Wilf said a referendum wouldn’t be fair because the Twins stadium sales tax didn’t go to a referendum. And a key supporter of the Arden Hills site said a referendum would doom the project.

“Anything you put on a vote would not pass right now, not even a library,” said Ramsey County Commissioner Tony Bennett.

Wilf said the $1 billion dollar stadium would bring thousands of jobs with it, and it’s what Vikings fans deserve.

“This is an important time for both Minnesota and the Minnesota Vikings,” said Wilf, who also said the Arden Hills site was a “perfect site” for the stadium.

About $300 million dollars of the cost would come from Ramsey County. The current proposal calls for half percent sales tax increase to raise the money. And Wilf said because the Twins sales tax didn’t go to a taxpayer vote, neither should this one.

“We would just like to be on the same playing field as the Twins,” said Wilf.

As for what happens if there is no stadium deal by the end of the Vikings season, Wilf said he just won’t go there.

“We have a plan A and that is what we are working very hard to accomplish,” he said.

Vikings Vice President Lester Bagley said Tuesday that Governor Dayton was going to clarify his statements on the referendum. A spokesperson for Dayton said Tuesday any decision on a referendum for a stadium would be a local decision. The spokesperson also said Dayton would not call for a referendum, but is not opposing one.

Dayton has ordered the Met Council and the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission to review the Arden Hills site and stadium plan.

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