The vision of a new NFL stadium didn't get much clearer after nearly three hours of talks today. The Vikings owners, Minneapolis officials, lawmakers and the governor and his staff met for the first time since Gov. Mark Dayton said the Metrodome was the only viable option for a stadium site this year.
Strangely, there didn't even seem to be consensus about that today.
"We're not ready to commit to a single site," said Sen. Julie Rosen, R-Fairmont, after the meeting ended this afternoon. She also said that Ramsey County could sweeten its bid yet this week, if they could come up with an alternative to new taxes.
She also left the door open for racino and electronic pull tabs, despite Dayton's doubts about the racino option in recent days.
Dayton sounded undaunted about the Metrodome option, calling on the city of Minneapolis, the state and the team to roll up their sleeves anew.
"You know, everybody's aware that this has to move apace, and that's why the staff of the city and the Vikings and the sports facilities commission are going to be working diligently full time, all the time, around the clock, until we get this nailed down," Dayton said. "And then we'll get the principals back together again, with the goal of getting this resolved if its resolvable."
The Vikings, for their part, seemed to be getting the message. Although he offered a concilatory nod toward the team's agreement to build in Arden Hills, owner Zygi Wilf spoke encouragingly of the Metrodome site as well.
"We're still in the process of doing our due diligence," Wilf said after the meeting. "There's a lot of aspects involved, including how we would address the seasons that we would be playing at TCF. So there's a lot of questions still to be answered, but we're making progress on getting to know the site much better.''
The team owners and Ramsey County officials are scheduled to meet again in St. Paul in about an hour.
As far as this stadium b.s. goes, I regret voting for Dayton... but the alternatives were even worse. Classic lose-lose situation.
One thing that I'm not clear on: doesn't the Wilf family own significant tracts of land (currently parking lots) as well as maybe having some options on other property - all near the current Metrodome site? I seem to recall them purchasing this property over the past 5 or so years.
Why aren't they jumping up and down for a rebuilt stadium on the Metrodome's site? It seems to me that public financing for this location would make that other property extremely valuable for redevelopment.
Well played by the Wilfs?