MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A decade-long battle for a new Vikings stadium ended with a 7-6 vote on Friday, the same split as approved the plan in subcommittee form on Thursday afternoon.
The full City Council voted on whether to pay $150 million in construction costs to help build the nearly $1 billion stadium. The city would have another $159 million in operating costs later on.
The stadium deal was signed by Gov. Mark Dayton earlier this month. Dayton thanked some of the members of the City Council on Friday in a statement:
“I want to thank the seven members of the Minneapolis City Council who voted to approve the People’s Stadium. Their vote is a testament to Mayor RT Rybak and Council President Barb Johnson who have shown the vision and courage to lead Minneapolis in putting together a stadium plan that is best for Minneapolis and Minnesota.”
The Vikings will pay $477 million and the state will pick up the rest of the bill through gambling revenue.
The stadium deal is one of the largest capital investments in the city’s history. The plan is to redirect hospitality taxes from the convention center to pay the city’s share of the stadium.
In Thursday’s meeting, people in hard hats and Vikings gear sat side by side. Some say the stadium deal is a lifeline to jobs in a construction industry during a time of massive unemployment.
“There is a strong link between them, between the things we like to do for fun and the jobs we get to support our families,” said City Council member Don Samuels. “And this is the link right here. We are making that connection today. And it costs us something, but it’s worth it.”
Lisa Goodman was one of several opponents who argued the stadium 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 the DFL party for sure after what happened at the legislature … a group of people in the city who have pushed forward the largest public subsidy in the state and city’s history,” said Goodman.