Reporting Pat Kessler
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ST. PAUL (WCCO) — Ramsey County leaders are back on the offense in the stadium game with a new funding proposal to get the Arden Hills stadium site back on the legislature’s radar. The only problem: The Vikings don’t like it.
Rebuffed by legislators not once, but twice, Ramsey County officials delivered a stadium financing plan to Gov. Mark Dayton.
“Our new plan is a game changer,” said Ramsey County Commissioner Tony Bennett. “The site that we have with 260 acres is far and away the best site that there is if you want to do things differently and not be on a 35- or 40-acre site.”
County funding for the Arden Hills stadium would come from user fees, including parking lot naming rights, $25 per vehicle parking fees a 3 percent tax on every Vikings ticket and unspecified hospitality taxes for new hotels, bars and restaurants developed on the stadium site.
Meanwhile, Dayton is visibly frustrated by the lack of progress on any plan, more specifically progress made by Minneapolis.
“I understand now why the Vikings decided: Enough of Minneapolis, we’re going to Arden Hills,” said Dayton.
He’s singling out the Minneapolis City Council and the state legislature for not acting quickly enough on what he calls a stadium “jobs” bill. He warned again: don’t be surprised if the Vikings leave.
“In the real world of sports pro franchises, teams move or they sell to somebody else who will move,” said Dayton. “If you want to play Russian roulette and try to see how long it’s gonna will take for that to happen in Minnesota, I think that’s a very foolish gamble.”
Meanwhile, the Minnesota Vikings are walking a very tight line on this.
On the one hand, they say they appreciate Ramsey County “hanging in there” through all the controversy.
On the other hand, the team has “significant concerns” about the plan, especially the part where Ramsey County gets the parking revenues.