St Paul Mayor Not Ready To Back Vikings Ramsey County Stadium
St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman said Thursday he’s not yet willing to support a new Minnesota Vikings stadium north of his city in Ramsey County, questioning whether his constituents will benefit in equal measure to the increased taxes they’ll pay.
Construction of the $1.1 billion, 65,000-seat NFL stadium at a former Army ammunition site in Arden Hills would be paid in part with a half-cent county sales tax increase. St. Paul is Ramsey County’s largest city; Arden Hills is about 10 miles northeast of St. Paul.
“Whether it’s got a great direct benefit to the city of St. Paul is one of the things I’m going to be asking,” Coleman said. “Quite frankly, a huge chunk of that half-cent sales tax would be generated in the city of St. Paul.”
Coleman said he’d withhold judgment until he sees an upcoming state analysis of whether that tax increase would raise enough to support the county share; and how much of the tax collections come from within the city. He suggested he might propose funneling a portion of the tax money directly to the city, perhaps to help keep parks and libraries open amid likely state budget cuts.
Coleman said he did consider the Vikings an important state asset, and didn’t rule out supporting the Ramsey County deal.
As St. Paul’s mayor, Coleman wouldn’t have direct power to block a stadium proposal that would need votes of approval by the state Legislature and the Ramsey County Board. But his opposition could carry weight in terms of public opinion and among politicians voting on the issue.
MNVikingsBlog.com Analysis: Mayor Coleman supporting this bill could be what gets the deal done in the end. If Coleman doesn’t back this bill it’s going to be even harder for the Vikings dreams come true. Even though the Vikings partnered with Arden Hills (Ramsey County) don’t think they won’t jump back to Minneapolis if that’s what it takes in order to get a stadium.