Time for a stadium deal
The brownfield in Arden Hills remains the best site for a new Minnesota Vikings stadium. As debate developed this year, the venue change to various poorly vetted Minneapolis sites was a concession to power politics — as was the increase in the proposed state contribution from not-a-penny-more-than-$300-milllion for a Ramsey County site to nearly $400 million for one in Minneapolis.
That aside, here we are, at the 11th hour, at risk, by dint of inaction, of letting the Vikings leave.
It would be one thing if legislators and the governor, backed by their understanding of what the people want, were to say no, we’re not going to do a stadium deal, so goodbye, Vikings. But that’s not what they’re saying. To his credit, Gov. Mark Dayton has been clear and steadfast in his pro-stadium position. Legislative leaders of both parties, meanwhile, have been much less clear.
There are good arguments for a stadium partially funded by taxpayer dollars. The Vikings and the NFL are big-city amenities, wildly popular, and most cities with franchises subsidize their stadiums. We favor the pro-stadium argument, though we respect the case against public subsidy. Pro or con, we’ve argued that the debate happen with eyes-wide-open about the consequences: We choose to subsidize a stadium and the Vikings stay, or we choose not to and they leave. That choice is at hand.
We met with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and other league representatives on Friday, April 20. They reiterated what they said at the Capitol earlier in the day: They weren’t here to make threats, but to make clear that it’s time for a decision. The league wants the Vikings to stay in Minnesota. The owners of the team want the Vikings to stay. It’s their understanding that the governor and legislative leaders want the Vikings to stay.
If that’s so, make a deal, legislators, and let’s get on with it.
— St. Paul Pioneer Press