Minneapolis Pushes To Keep Vikings
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ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) Minneapolis wants to keep the Vikings, and they want to keep them in downtown Minneapolis. In order to ensure that that happens, officials are proposing an offer to pay more than 20 percent of the cost of a new stadium.
Mayor R.T. Rybak and City Council President Barb Johnson planned a Monday afternoon news conference to release their proposal for building a new stadium at the current Metrodome site. Elected officials in neighboring Ramsey County are pushing a site north of St. Paul.
A person with direct knowledge of the Minneapolis proposal said the city will offer to pay a little over 20 percent of construction costs now estimated to reach about $900 million with a mix of new and existing city sales taxes. The proposal will also include money to renovate Target Center, where the NBA’s Timberwolves play.
The team and the state of Minnesota would pay the rest of the cost, said the person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the proposal had not yet been announced.
The Vikings have been seeking a new stadium for years, calling the Metrodome no longer sufficiently profitable to the team. The prospective sites were winnowed to two last week, after the Hennepin County Board chairman said he’d no longer pursue a site near the Minnesota Twins’ Target Field.
Vikings spokesman Lester Bagley said the team was not involved in the development of the Minneapolis offer and wouldn’t comment until details are released.
State lawmakers have introduced a bill calling for the state to pay about a third of construction costs with the money raised through a 10 percent state sales tax on sports memorabilia, a sales tax on luxury seats at the new stadium and on digital video recorders, and proceeds from stadium naming rights and a football-themed state lottery game.
The team would pay the other third plus cost overruns, though Gov. Mark Dayton and others have suggested the team’s share should be higher.
Ramsey County officials have been pushing the Arden Hills site, a former Army ammunition plant that would offer the team the opportunity to surround the stadium with a retail, restaurant and hotel complex. But that site carries larger costs associated with cleaning up contamination and fixing up roads and infrastructure.
With two weeks left in the state’s legislative session, stadium supporters have been urging the Vikings to pick its local partner for any chance of getting legislative approval this year.
“The sooner they choose the better,” said Ted Mondale, Dayton’s point man on the stadium push.
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