It's probably too late for the Shakopee site for a Minnesota Vikings stadium to get serious consideration in the ongoing battle over a new stadium for the team, but if it does, there's likely one problem that the proposal may not be considering. Airplanes.
Here's the site (courtesy of Shakopee Valley News)
But here's what local pilots are going to notice...
If you take off in a small plane from Flying Cloud Airport's Runway 18 (top) and you have an engine failure, you're heading straight for the proposed site of the football stadium.
But it may not be a safety issue for people in the stadium, because current FAA rules could prevent the airport from operating the way it currently does during a football game.
Because of 9/11, the FAA banned aircraft from flying below 3,000 feet within 3 miles of any stadium. An exact distance is hard to pin down based on the charts provided, but the stadium is fairly close to the "no-fly" zone during NFL football games. Most pilots probably couldn't fly during the games because the controlled airspace around the international airport lowers to 3,000 feet at the stadium site.
The east-west runways, on the other hand, are the most-often-used at Flying Cloud and it might be possible for pilots to get in an out of the airspace without disturbing its NFL neighbors.
It may well be that the two neighbors could co-exist and the challenges clarified and worked out, but the geography of the proposal also means that the stadium proposal is going to have security and airspace challenges -- probably drawing the interest of the federal government -- that other sites do not.have.
But all the other proposed sites are able to over look glaring issues with building a stadium there.
I still like the idea of putting it at the old ford plant... dedicated rail lines to st. paul are already in place, so light rail could go in quick and easy. it's only a mile off the Hiawatha line.
And it's right on the river (booze cruise to the game any one?)
only issue I see with that site is the same as Arden Hills, it's surrounded by residential neighborhoods that probably don't want it there.
The problem I see with the Ford plant site is access. Ford Parkway, East River road, Cleveland Ave and Cretin Ave, none of those can handle the traffic for 60,000 football fans. Even if you assume that 50% are brought in via mass transit and the other 30,000 fans ride on average 3 to a car that's still 10,000 cars. You won't be able to move 10,000 cars in and out of that area on the current roads.
Whatever conflicts with Flying Cloud are real and not work aroundable, it must be remembered that the Vikings play only 8 to 10 home games and they are not always on Sundays.
In fact, all the economic benefits of a Viking stadium are tempered by the 8 to 10 number.
The very best stadiums tell a story about the local area. Pittsburgh's Three Rivers at the confluence of two rivers into the Ohio River, San Fransisco's baseball park with McCovey Cove in the background, even the baseball park in St. Louis with the Mississippi River and the Arch as a backdrop, Baltimore's baseball field at the Inner Harbor all tell a visual story about their cities.
The Ford plant site in St. Paul would be great, but I'm afraid the access by car would be a real problem.
Target Field is in an unfortunate location. The Dome is also not well located. It would be great to find a site along the river or on top of or below a river bluff, but it won't happen. We'll get one more, nondescript and very boring stadium!