MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Now that plans for a new Vikings stadium have been determined, what happens to the area around it is still in the works.

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Three proposals are being considered with parking and a plaza, but the biggest plan is now under fire — because of $6 million worth of skyways.

The new stadium’s $975 million budget sets aside money for parking ramps, a plaza, and some skyway connections.

“Different plans have different ideas in them and different potential connections,” said Michele Kelm-Helgen, chairperson of the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority, which is deciding between the three proposals.

However, Minneapolis leaders back Ryan Construction’s plan for a 9-acre commercial-residential development with parking ramps, a large public park and two 20-story office towers.

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Critics say that plan expects the stadium authority to pay for $6 million worth of skyways that simply connect the development’s office buildings.

Ryan’s Senior Vice President Rick Collins declined comment, but directed us to the “request for proposal” documents, which say: “Proposers are encouraged to propose to connect the skyway from the Stadium to the downtown skyway system.”

“It’s all kind of a puzzle that has to be looked at and potentially fit together,” said Kelm-Helgen.

A full connection to downtown, she added, without drop-outs between buildings is crucial for courting Super Bowls, Final Fours, and other big events.

“To be able to market stadium as having indoor weather connected skyway leading to all the hotels and restaurants in the downtown would be a huge benefit,” she said.

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Kelm-Helgen said a decision is expected by the end of the month. No matter which proposal they pick, it must fit within the stadium’s overall $975 million budget.

Frank Vascellaro