Vikings Stadium Won’t Be Addressed During Special Legislative Session
The Minnesota Vikings significantly advanced their new stadium plan this year, finding a public partner to help fund the proposed $1.1 billion project and hearing supportive words from the state’s new governor.
Minnesota’s $5 billion budget deficit blocked the path to progress, though, and the partisan impasse over how to fill that gap forced the state government to shut down at the beginning of the month, shoving the stadium to the background.
Gov. Mark Dayton, a Democrat, and the Republican majorities in the House and the Senate have been busy this week completing their agreement to put Minnesota back in business and guide state spending for the new cycle, but the Vikings were dealt another setback.
The stadium won’t be considered during this special session of the legislature, and Dayton said Tuesday he’s reluctant to call another special session later in the year to address a request the team first raised more than a decade ago.
“I haven’t decided. It’s not ready to be considered at this point,” Dayton said. “We’ll have to see if negotiations proceed to a point where it can be. … I take calling a special session very seriously and something I would not do routinely. It would have to be circumstances that compel it, and, again, I don’t know whether those will occur or not.”
Vikings vice president for public affairs and stadium development Lester Bagley offered a rather ominous response.
“All I can tell you is that we are assessing our options,” Bagley said, declining to elaborate.
The Vikings have begun the final year of their lease at the 29-year-old Metrodome, now called Mall of America Field, which is getting a new roof after the old one collapsed during a snowstorm last December. In February, when the lease expires, they will essentially be free agents. Next year’s regular session of the Legislature begins in January.
Initially I was upset when hearing about this news but after a little thought I actually think this could work in the Vikings favor. Assuming Dayton will call another special session later this year the Vikings will likely have started their season. Viking loyalty is typically at its all time high in the beginning of the season. If the Vikings start out hot, get the impact they need from new players, and a session called for say October then we have a better chance of passing this bill. Then we can all enjoy a new stadium in 2015!