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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The people who work and pray closest to where a new Vikings stadium might be built are saying: not in my backyard.
Mom-and-pop businesses and the Basilica of Saint Mary are only a couple hundred feet from the proposed Linden Avenue site.
It’s one of three places in Minneapolis where the stadium could go. The other two include the current Metrodome site, which Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak is pushing, and the farmers market.
A 63,000-seat sports stadium with plenty of room for tailgating sounds good to some, but it also has some worried.
“We love the Vikings. We want them to stay in Minnesota,” said the Rev. John Bauer, Pastor of the Basilica of Saint Mary. “We just don’t want them close to us.”
He’s traded preaching from the pulpit for preaching other ways, like on-air and online. He’ll be emailing a letter to parish households Tuesday, where he calls his basilica a “beacon in the skyline” and says a stadium so close is not comforting.
“The impact of the vibrations … we’re very concerned about how our buildings would handle that,” Bauer said.
He’s worried about parish parking during games and other stadium events; and he’s concerned that vibrations could cause stained glass to fall out of windows.
He also doesn’t want to say adios to the annual Basilica Block Party, which is held on a parking lot on the proposed site. Proceeds from that event go towards ongoing restoration, he said.
“I am concerned that the loss of this stage could in turn cause a loss of income for the ongoing restoration and maintenance of the basilica and its campus,” Bauer wrote.
Other businesses in the area near Linden Avenue and Interstate 394 just worry about surviving. The thought of a stadium there is frightening to the Theatrical Costume Company.
“It would be costly possibly to the point that some of us would have to close, just because it would be too costly for us to continue business in that way,” said Brian Berberich, the company’s owner.
He’s trying to rally political leaders to his side, so he’s sending them a letter indicating why he believes they should say yes to the Arden Hills site and no to the Linden site. The Vikings have publicly said for months that they favor building a stadium in Arden Hills.
Xcel energy would also be affected if the Linden site is chosen. Its 400 employees and Minneapolis fleet would be forced to move. But spokesperson Tom Hoen said Xcel “won’t stand in the way of progress.”
But it’s progress some are praying to stop.
“Let’s just say we’re storming heaven,” Bauer said. “We’re letting God know our concerns.”