Posted at 2:51 PM on March 1, 2011
by Tim Nelson
Filed under: MN Legislature
It appears that the owners of the Minnesota Vikings are revving up their push for a new stadium. Vikings executive Mark Wilf told MPR News today that he hoped to meet with state lawmakers to discuss legislation that could get the Vikings a new stadium.
Wilf made the comments after he met with Ramsey County officials about building a stadium in Arden Hills.
It was a rare appearance by Vikings ownership in St. Paul, amid slow-going negotiations for a new NFL stadium. Wilf, however, downplayed the meetings.
"I wouldn't interpret it as any kind of sign," Wilf said. "I think the main message is going to come from the legislators, and we're hopeful a bill will be coming and be produced quickly here, so we can get to a conclusion. Because, obviously, we need a home and we want to get to work on it."
Wilf declined to say which lawmakers he intended to meet with. Senate GOP Caucus spokesman Michael Brodkorb and House GOP Caucus spokewsoman Jodi Boyne both said they didn't know anything about meetings with Wilf.
Sen. Julie Rosen, R-Fairmont, who has said she could author the Vikings stadium bill, said she didn't meet with Wilf. A likely House sponsor, Morrie Lanning, R-Moorhead, said he didn't see Wilf, either. A spokeswoman for Gov. Dayton didn't respond to messages to see if Dayton met with Wilf, and Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission chairman Ted Mondale didn't return a call about Wilf's appearance.
Meanwhile, Ramsey County appears ready to move ahead with a plan to put up a local share of the financing for a new Viking stadium. Ramsey County Commissioner Rafael Ortega says there's support for up to a half-cent sales tax in the county.
He said the county could have preliminary numbers yet this week, and that he's staying home from a National Association of Counties convention next week to help tie up loose ends if necessary.