Dayton Suggests Vikings May Need To Wait Until 2012 For New Stadium
The chances for a new Vikings stadium at Arden Hills appeared more uncertain than ever on Tuesday, with Gov. Mark Dayton saying he might let the issue wait until next year’s legislative session.
The Vikings had hoped to have the stadium plan included in the special session that started Tuesday. That ambition was quickly dashed. Dayton then said he might consider calling a second special session in the fall to determine the fate of the plan to build a $1.1 billion stadium in suburban Ramsey County.
On Tuesday, Dayton said the plan was “not ready to be considered at this point.” He said would not take the decision to call another special session lightly and is weighing whether to wait until the Legislature convenes its 2012 regular session in January. The Arden Hills plan would require at least $650 million in state and county subsidies and major road improvements.
Vikings and Ramsey County officials reacted grimly to the news, with at least one raising the prospect of moving vans full of purple jerseys.
“We are assessing our options,” said Lester Bagley, Vikings vice president of public affairs and stadium development. Pressed to define those options, Bagley declined. “We are assessing our options and until we sort that out, we don’t have anything to say,” he said.
Ramsey County Commissioner Tony Bennett was less terse but more dire.
“What would you do if you had a chance to move to a new stadium [elsewhere] or fight the politics in Minnesota?” Bennett asked. “I think any businessperson would recommend they be gone.”
Bennett helped steer a pact with the team for a stadium on the former munitions site in Arden Hills at the nexus of Interstate 35W and Hwy. 10.
Metropolitan Sports Facilities Chairman Ted Mondale sought to calm tensions, citing the context of the historic 19-day shutdown at the Capitol.
“Everyone’s tired and angry,” Mondale said. “It’s time to cool off. Have a glass of iced tea. Walk the dog. Everything will be all right.” Mondale said that Dayton has told him that a fall special session is still a possibility. “Bring an appropriate deal to him, he’d do that,” Mondale said.
As late as last Friday, the Vikings were tinkering with the deal and legislators were too focused on the budget to work with the team, Mondale said.
This is preposterous. Just like the budget, the state seems to be content side lining the issue to the last minute. The Vikings need a new stadium, they won’t renew their lease at the dome, and the team moving is a real threat. While 1 billion isn’t cheap lets be realistic, it will never be convenient either. So what makes next year anymore appealing or convenient than this year? Why leave everything in limbo and go through everything the Vikings and the state went through this year, next year? Its simple, either your going to build it or your not. If you don’t I don’t want to hear any of the stadium nay Sayers complain about loss of revenue from the Vikings when they are moved to another location that will actually support them!