Reporting Pat Kessler
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ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) – Gov. Mark Dayton said Wednesday that none of the plans so far for a Vikings stadium are good enough to pass the State Legislature.
That assessment comes just six days before the legislature meets in session, and just as the Vikings Metrodome lease expires.
Gov. Dayton reviewed all of the stadium sites in detail, but said he prefers none of them as they currently stand. But in the upside-down world of politics and pigskin, lawmakers said they are still optimistic of a late game football finish.
Dayton said the Arden Hills site isn’t feasible if the legislature requires a public referendum on any stadium tax hike.
The Metrodome site won’t generate economic development, and the funding is shaky. The Basilica site faces stiff opposition from the church.
“The conclusion, regrettably, is that there is no stadium proposal with a complete and proficient financial plan, one which assigns equitable obligations to the Vikings, the state of Minnnesota,” Dayton said at a news conference Wednesday.
Gov. Dayton singled out unnamed legislators who won’t sign onto any stadium plan because they want to delay a vote until after the 2012 elections.
He also expressed optimism that a plan could come together quickly.
“We’re at the five yard line and its first and goal, and I think we’ve got a great opportunity. I think we’ve moved a long ways forward,” Dayton said.
The Vikings’ Metrodome lease expired at the end of the end of the season, and the team said Arden Hills remains its preferred site.
Team officials said they are also facing reality, and are now willing to work with Minneapolis to develop a new stadium plan.
“If Arden Hills is not achievable, we will work with state leaders and the city of Minneapolis to try to negotiate an agreement that would work in Minneapolis,” said Lester Bagley, Vikings’ vice president and lead on stadium development.
Right now, that will take a miracle. The Basilica of St Mary is not happy about a massive NFL stadium near its property line.
“We want to be clear, we don’t believe that our concerns are manageable. We continue to have significant reservations about the idea of a stadium a block and a half away from the Basilica of St. Mary,” said Rev. John Bauer.
A small group of lawmakers is meeting Wednesday night at the State Capitol to hammer out something, anything, on a Vikings stadium.
But it’s looking less likely any stadium bill will be ready by the time the 2012 legislature meets next week.