Reporting Pat Kessler
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Ramsey County and the City of Minneapolis are scrambling to put finishing touches on final plans for a potential Vikings stadium.
Governor Mark Dayton set next Thursday as the deadline for both to be ready to submit their packages. At this point, neither proposal is completely ready, and there’s just a couple days left to get the work done.
The best thing Arden Hills has going for it: It’s where the Minnesota Vikings want to be. Unlike Minneapolis, the suburban Ramsey County stadium site has been picked over more carefully than a quarterback’s game day stats.
“I think everybody but the janitor has looked at our side,” said Ramsey County Commissioner Tony Bennett.
Ramsey County is putting the finishing touches on a stadium plan that includes a new county-wide three percent food and beverage tax to raise $350 million for a stadium.
County officials are also pushing for expanded gambling, quietly hoping it would generate enough money to reduce the county share.
“I won’t say the state should step in totally but they’ve got a couple proposals out there that I think they should at least consider,” Bennett said.
The best thing Minneapolis has going for it: It’s Minneapolis. There’s plenty of transit, restaurants and renovating the Metrodome would cost a lot less money.
The Minneapolis site may be less expensive, but it’s also much smaller. And the Minnesota Vikings have said they want space.
Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak said he’ll propose re-using the existing infrastructure of the Metrodome and adding on to it.
“A portion of the seating area, having the hole dug and having the infrastructure all in place, you can save $100 million, maybe $200 million from other locations and yeah, that’s a very big deal,” Rybak said.
Minneapolis is still tweaking its plan, diverting an existing city hospitality tax to a stadium. The down side: A city council that’s hostile to the idea.
“We won’t have a cakewalk on the city council, but it’s our sense after talking to folks and looking at the different ideas that we can get a positive vote out of there,” Rybak said.
The Minnesota Vikings played their last game at the Metrodome last week, and their 30-year lease expired. The team said it is the only NFL franchise without a lease.