The Big Story Blog

Is Arden Hills stadium site for real?

Posted at 1:00 PM on October 18, 2011 by Paul Tosto
Filed under: Politics, Sport

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Vikings executives have said over and again that the proposed Arden Hills stadium site is what they want, that it makes the most sense and that they are not even considering the idea of re-exploring sites in Minneapolis or St. Paul.

And yet the speculation continues that the Arden Hills plan will fall through and the debate will shift back to sites in Minneapolis.

My MPR News colleague Bob Collins this morning highlights a fascinating analysis by Rick Prescott, writer of the BallPark Magic blog, who calls the Arden Hills site "delusional."

It's a pretty detailed critique and worth reading regardless of where you stand on the issue.

A couple of salient paragraphs:

In terms of infrastructure, everybody likes to leverage what they already have. We've already spent a couple of billion dollars on transit into the downtowns. We've spent hundreds of millions on parking facilities. We've spent more money than can be counted on creating and maintaining sufficient freeway access to the downtowns.

These are all investments which would be leveraged by siting any new stadium in one of the downtowns. And here I'm not suggesting either Minneapolis or St. Paul specifically, but rather the need to build where the infrastructure has already been paid for rather than paying for it all again somewhere else. Going to any suburb is going to have a very high hurdle with the governmental bodies who have already invested a lot of money in preparing the downtowns for just this type of project.

Given the the slog to get to this point in the debate, it's hard to see a scenario where the Arden Hills plan would fail and the politics and economics could be turned quickly to do a deal at another site.

Intriguing questions: Would more of the the public back public financing if the stadium were in Minneapolis?


About Paul Tosto

Paul Tosto

Paul Tosto writes the Big Story Blog for MPR News. He joined the newsroom in 2008 after more than 20 years reporting on education, politics and the economy for news wires and newspapers across the country.