09-20-2005, 05:14 AM #1
Vikings, Anoka County ready to announce stadium plan
From the Redzone.org
ST. PAUL - The Minnesota Vikings and Anoka County have agreed on a plan for a $675 million football stadium with a retractable roof in suburban Minneapolis.
The sides intend to reveal how they want to pay for the stadium in a news conference on Tuesday in Blaine, north of Minneapolis.
"We've been working around the clock and we are just putting the finishing touches on the agreement," Vikings executive Lester Bagley said Monday.
While he wouldn't detail the entire agreement, Bagley said it calls for the football stadium as part of a broader development project.
The county would seek permission from the state Legislature to enact a 0.75 percent sales tax to help pay for construction and ask for the state to chip in for road projects around the site.
Last week, new Vikings owner Zygi Wilf held a series of private meetings with top lawmakers, including Gov. Tim Pawlenty, about the stadium.
At those meetings, he told the elected officials he was willing to contribute at least $250 million to the project.
House Minority Leader Matt Entenza, DFL-St. Paul, said Wilf has gotten off to a good start.
"There's always going to be a lot of uneasiness about funding stadiums, but Zygi is doing a good job by making it clear we won't be blackmailed by the threat of a team leaving," Entenza said.
How the plan will fare though is another matter, and Entenza said he'd withhold judgment until seeing it in writing.
The Vikings stadium, parking lot, training facility and team headquarters would comprise 200 acres of the 740-acre overall Blaine development, which would also have retail space.
The Vikings are under lease to play in the Metrodome until 2011. But the team has argued that the Dome is outdated. The Vikings rank near the bottom of the league in local revenue.
Julie Shortridge, a county spokeswoman, said Anoka officials wouldn't comment until the news conference.
The state has already put a nominal amount of money toward a new football stadium.
In 2002, the Legislature provided $500,000 for football stadium design, but that was when the Vikings and University of Minnesota were trying to team up on a single facility.
"If at first you don't succeed, parachuting is not for you"
09-20-2005, 05:19 AM #2
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