Vikings, Dayton, Rybak see stadium deal in matter of daysby Tim Nelson, Minnesota Public Radio
ST. PAUL, Minn. — The Minnesota Vikings, the Dayton administration and Minneapolis leaders say they're very close to a long-sought deal to build a new Vikings stadium downtown.
The Vikings say there's general agreement on how much each of the parties will pay, but stadium operations and construction are still sticking points.
Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission chairman Ted Mondale says the deal could be unveiled in a matter of days. And mayor R.T. Rybak says gaps in the deal are closing.
"There's been tremendous progress over this last couple of weeks. We've gone from the Vikings playing at TCF from three years to maybe two years and maybe no time. We've refined the plan. I think we've come a great step of the way toward have the negotiators for the state and the Vikings and council president Johnson and I all on the same page toward making a deal. So we're making a lot of progress."
Rybak has not secured support for the deal from a majority of the city council members yet. A new stadium would also need legislative approval.
Minneapolis officials are fighting off efforts at the Capitol to roll back a list of hospitality taxes the city wants to continue using to fund some of its best-known amenities.
The GOP House tax chair has introduced a bill that would sunset three percent bar, restaurant and hotel taxes and a half-cent sales tax. Under the proposal the taxes would end when the city pays off the Convention Center mortgage in 2020. Some republicans argue that revenue from the taxes gives Minneapolis an unfair advantage in luring trade shows that could go to other Minnesota cities.
Minneapolis mayor R.T. Rybak is telling lawmakers the Convention Center is a good investment and a big draw for dollars coming from out of state.
"Out of all these buildings that we're talking about, Vikings stadiums, Target Centers, Xcels, a convention center is more important than any of them. And for the state to cut off the funding for the convention center, that generates so much money for the state, would be like the state punching itself in the face."
Rybak also wants to use the money to help fund a Vikings stadium, but hasn't been able to convince the City Council to go along with the plan.
- Morning Edition, 02/17/2012, 7:20 a.m.