Thursday, December 17, 2009
Vikings refuse to endorse stadium plan
By Kevin Seifert
Here’s a good indication of the current dysfunction in Minnesota stadium politics: On Thursday, the government entity that owns the Metrodome presented several updated proposals to replace the 27-year-old structure for less money than originally contemplated. Depending on the plan, the new facility would generate anywhere from $20 million to $31.5 million in additional revenue for the Vikings.
But because of infighting amongst the parties, the Vikings boycotted the presentation and refused to endorse any of the proposals. And so it goes.
You can read the specifics on the Web site of the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission (MSFC), or in this Star Tribune news story. One proposal projects a completely new stadium as costing $870 million, about $84 million less than an earlier cost analysis. Another proposal, which would use part of the existing structure, projects at $771 million.
The Vikings, however, are still smarting from a recent MSFC request that the Vikings sign a two-year lease extension at the Metrodome or face reinstituted rent charges. Without it, their lease would expire after the 2011 season.
In a statement released Thursday, the Vikings said they “appreciate” the commission’s efforts but said they are “moving forward with those leaders who want to resolve this issue in 2010.”
At this point, it’s not clear who those leaders are. Owner Zygi Wilf recently met with Gov. Tim Pawlenty, but Pawlenty said he is not in favor of using public money to fund the project. When the price tag was at $954 million, Wilf was offering to pay $250 million while the public came up with the rest.