Reporting Mark Rosen
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — One way or another, our long, long Viking stadium issue is coming to a conclusion, starting with the critical vote in the House probably sometime late Monday night.
We all have and can continue to argue the merits of any public participation in the building of stadiums and ballparks. These arguments have gone on in Arizona to Dallas, Indianapolis to renovations in Kansas City. They had the vision and understanding: it’s the price you pay to keep big time sports and all the events which go along with a new venue.
It took 10 years of rhetoric and arm twisting to build the Metrodome for $68 million — but without air conditioning at first because it was just good enough, in the words of one stadium official, to “get fans in, let ‘em see a game and let ‘em go home.”
Yet despite the lack of amenities and spartan feel to the Dome, it still hosted a Major League All-Star game, a Super Bowl, two basketball Final Fours, a bunch of regional tournaments and of course two World Series, to say nothing of non-sporting events, concerts and the like. But we all knew the Dome did not have a future. The Gophers left, the Twins left and now the Vikings’ lease is up.
The pass-the-buck mentality of our so-called legislative leaders over the past decade has put us in this spot. “Let the next governor deal with it.”
The time is now, yet a week ago, they were still talking “roof or no roof” on the new facility.
Last week was a complete clown show in St. Paul. Look, we all have stadium fatigue, but it’s time to quit worrying about saving face and partisan politics and the horse trading, step up and do what virtually every other big league community has done. They’ve had plenty of time to figure it out.
Some people are going to be unhappy no matter how the vote goes, but like it or not, House speaker Kurt Zellers will have the tag on the guy who drove the Vikings out of Minnesota if it fails.
This is it. Trust me. The NFL will not be coming back this way.