Reporting Pat Kessler
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The ornate Minneapolis City Council room was packed with construction workers and Vikings fans. Silent protesters held handmade signs as council members were deeply uneasy.
“The largest public subsidy, the largest corporate subsidy in the history of Minneapolis,” council member Sam Gordon said. “And maybe, who knows, the biggest boondoggle that anybody will be able to remember.”
Minneapolis will put up $150 million for the new Vikings stadium on the site of the current Metrodome, re-directing hospitality taxes from the convention center to the new facility.
“To me this is a really sad day for the city,” council member Lisa Goodman said.
Opponents argued it is not a good investment, but a bad one, with no public referendum and no evidence of economic benefit.
“I do not want to be part of a DFL party, for sure, after what happened at the legislature,” Goodman said. “And a group of people in the city who have pushed forward the largest public subsidy in the state and city’s history.”
But supporters gave an impassioned defense of the project, pointing to hard hats and Vikings horns sitting side by side.
Some called it a lifeline to jobs in a construction industry with massive unemployment.
“But there is a strong link between them,” said council member Don Samuels. “Between the things we like to do for fun and the jobs we get to support our families. And this is the link right here. We are making that connection today. And it costs us something. But it’s worth it.”