Ramsey County approves Arden Hills stadium site purchaseby Tim Nelson, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — Ramsey County officials have approved an offer to buy the proposed site for a Vikings stadium in Arden Hills for about $28.5 million.
That money would buy 430 acres of the nearly 2,400 acre Twin Cities Army Ammunition Plant site. The vote caps eight months of negotiations between the Vikings, Ramsey County and the federal government.
"The message to the governor, to the Legislature, needs to be loud and clear here," said Ramsey County Commissioner Jim McDonough. "We have site control. We've minimized the risk. We're under budget."
The purchase price was less than half the maximum cost projected by a Metropolitan Council study. The purchase agreement also includes guarantees for cleanup of the area to an commercial standard.
The county has proposed using most of the land as a site a new Vikings stadium. About 170 acres of the area would be sold to the Vikings for stadium-related commercial development. Three sites in Minneapolis are also under consideration.
But the stadium plan has been stalled by disagreement about how to pay for it. State officials have already ruled out a sales tax that Ramsey County initially offered for the deal.
County Commissioner Tony Bennett said he thinks the focus is all but entirely on gambling now.
"The governor's been talking about the pull tabs. There are four or five others. There's another pull tab one that uses an electronic video machine. There's a racino," he said. Legislators have shown little interest in committing to any single funding source, and House Speaker Kurt Zellers has ruled out a special session to debate the issue.