Reporting Bill Hudson
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Ever since the Minnesota Vikings began talking about the need for a new football stadium, businesses around the Metrodome have been holding their breath. So when news of a deal that would place a new home for the Vikings on the existing site, fans and area business owners were quick to react.
“I thought it was great news, anywhere downtown is perfect, but this is beautiful for us,” said Dan Bell.
Anchoring the corner across the street from the Dome, Hubert’s is a well-known sports watering hole. Bell is Hubert’s manager and he says that when the Twins traded up for Target Field, summer business dried up for Hubert’s.
“When the Twins left you got 80 games that went downtown. It made us like left out. So this will be wonderful for us, at this end of town,” said Bell.
As news of a deal broke, the lunchtime crowd started weighing in. Some are unconvinced that pull-tab gambling revenues will fly. Other customers are worried about the impacts on area traffic, both during and after construction.
The proposed 65,000 seat stadium will eliminate some 500 parking spaces east of the existing dome. However, under the proposal, a new 650 vehicle ramp would be built to the north.
“Try to get anywhere, the hospital, any other function down here. We don’t have parking already and it’s being taken away,” said Steve Pederson.
Then there’s the question of tailgating. An expanded plaza will create some additional tailgating opportunities, but Vikings fans were salivating over the ample space for pre-game festivities at the Arden Hills site.
“We’ve been battling this since 1998 really,” said stadium supporter, David Gunderson.
Outside the capitol, he and fellow supporter Larry Spooner said the state can’t afford any more delay.
“The people of Minnesota are ready to get this done. It ain’t quite the site that all Vikes fans wanted, but let’s see what they have. We’ll figure out a way to tailgate,” said Spooner.
Watch Pat Kessler’s Report On The Stadium Deal