Reporting Edgar Linares
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minneapolis City Council got their first chance to weigh-in on the stadium debate.
On Thursday, Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak updated the council about what’s happening with the Minnesota Vikings stadium.
Rybak said his preferred site is the Metrodome, not the farmer’s market or the site near the Basilica. He also suggested using hospitality dollars that pays for the Minneapolis Convention Center, shifting it to pay for a new stadium.
“We have a complicated proposal. But because it’s complex, it solves a couple of problems,” said Rybak. “One is the Metrodome being a new, modern facility for the Vikings, Target Center being renovated and taking Target Center off the property tax right now.”
Thursday’s city council meeting was the first time a formal proposal had been brought to the group.
Rybak said he would’ve preferred the stadium funding be done through statewide resources or have Hennepin County take the lead, like they did with Target Field. Since the county seems unlikely to enter the debate, he’s encouraging the city to get involved.
“If we can move our hospitality taxes around and solve those issues, we’ll have the stadiums, lower property taxes. But it’s complicated and we haven’t totally solved the problem yet,” said Rybak.
Rybak has the support of Council President Barb Johnson but others are skeptical on the funding proposal.
“I don’t believe that using existing taxes meets the charter (amendment) referendum,” said Councilwoman Lisa Goodman. “It doesn’t say you can’t spend $10 million in new taxes. It says you can’t spend $10 million on sports facilities.”
Minneapolis is pushing forward, even though the Vikings still want to build in Arden Hills.
Rybak says it would be $215 million cheaper to build in Minneapolis and also renovate Target Center with the same financing deal.