Petition Started To NOT Build Vikings Stadium In Arden Hills
A Shoreview City Council member has started a petition against building a Minnesota Vikings stadium in neighboring Arden Hills.
As of Wednesday afternoon, about 86 people had signed council member Blake Huffman’s petition, which he posted online Friday.
The idea was prompted by the slew of emails he was getting about the stadium, Huffman said, which is slated to be built on a portion of the abandoned Twin Cities Army Ammunition Plant in Arden Hills.
“They were coming in about 20 to 1 against it,” Huffman said. “One of them said, ‘I don’t like it, but I guess there is nothing I can do about it.’ That bothered me….How sad is it that we live in a culture where someone feels totally powerless to stop something that is happening in their own back yard?”
Shoreview neighbors the 2,400-acre TCAAP property on the site’s northern and eastern edges, according to Shoreview city manager Terry Schwerm. The proposed Vikings site would sit on about 260 acres on the western portion of TCAAP. Another 170 acres have been slated for development.
The petition calls on Ramsey County, Arden Hills and the state to put the stadium in Minneapolis or St. Paul, where Huffman said there is more infrastructure, and to build it without using taxpayer funding.
Ramsey County Commissioner Tony Bennett, who has been one of the leaders on the Arden Hills site, said the petition does not suggest there is widespread opposition to the project in the northern suburbs.
“I have a lot of people that want it and I have a lot of people that don’t….Those that oppose something are always the most active,” Bennett said.
Huffman added: “This is not a pro-Vikings or anti-Vikings petition; I love the Vikings. It really is more about, Is the money in this environment appropriate and is the location appropriate.”
If nothing else, Huffman said he hopes the petition will start a conversation about the Arden Hills site.
Residents want to know how a stadium would affect crime, property values, noise, the environment and other concerns, he said.
“Somehow, the pubic has been absolutely locked out of this conversation,” Huffman said.
The petition does not represent the views of the entire Shoreview City Council, he notes.
The majority of the signatures gained so far are from Shoreview residents, but there are a few from other cities, including Minneapolis, St. Paul, Blaine, Maplewood and Vadnais Heights.
Huffman said the list will be presented to local officials by the end of the month, before the stadium issue potentially gets addressed in a possible special session of the state Legislature, whose Republican leadership is embroiled in a budget debate with DFL Gov. Mark Dayton.
The Legislature still needs to approve the state’s one-third portion of the funding for the approximately $1 billion stadium project. Questions over who would pay the cost for road improvements around the site have been central to the debate. The Vikings and Ramsey County have each agreed to pay a third of the cost, with the county’s contribution being funded by a 0.5 percent sales tax that would not be subject to voter approval.
Arden Hills Mayor David Grant said he could not comment on the petition because he hadn’t seen it.
This type of news drives me crazy. When people state things such as a 20 to 1 favor in odds against a stadium they don’t mention that people against a topic typically complain in numbers. Not all supporters are active in the fight for a new stadium. These people complaining are the same ones that were pissed when the Stars or Lakers left… or they simply aren’t a fan of sports. A new stadium is needed, yes the timing isn’t exactly convenient, but will it ever be convenient to spend a billion + dollars?