MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — What’s in a name? A lot, if you’re the Minnesota Vikings.
They don’t like the idea that their new stadium sits on Chicago Avenue — a street named after the hometown of one of their biggest rivals.
But the team says that’s not the most important reason they want to change the street name to ‘Vikings Way.’ Vikings Vice President Lester Bagley says it’s about branding and tradition.
At City Hall Monday evening, the Minneapolis Planning Commission did not approve the Vikings proposal, but that doesn’t mean the name change won’t happen. The Vikings can still appeal the decision to a City Council Planning Committee or the Zoning Committee. If those appeals fail, they could even appeal to the City Council itself.
In arguing in favor of the name change, Vikings officials point to a similar situation in 2014, when a street in front of Target Field was renamed Twins Way.
City Councilman Jacob Frey, who represents the downtown area, says he doesn’t want to see any name change until the Vikings guarantee full and free access to all events in and around the commons area, even to those who don’t have a game ticket.
“We’re not going to randomly give away a street name change,” he said. “We have to make sure that we have the public’s interest in mind, and in my mind that’s ensuring that the commons has maximum and full public accessibility, 100 percent of the time.”
Frey says the Minneapolis Planning Commission’s decision Monday gives the city leverage to make sure those events in the commons area are always open to the public.