Arden Hills Vikings stadium feasibility report: Not really

MORNING EDITION

Or, to put it another way, “not so feasible.” The report on feasibility regarding the Vikings’ Arden Hills stadium plan was anything but encouraging to the team. Tom Scheck and Madeleine Baran of MPR report: “The report found that Ramsey County and the Vikings have miscalculated the amount of time it will take to get the environmental review and permitting completed. That proposal calls for the new stadium to open for the 2015 season. The report found it’s more likely it would open in 2016 or 2017. Gov. Dayton has said he is relying on the report’s findings before he decides the next step in stadium negotiations. The report also found that the Vikings and Ramsey County have not identified how to pay for $39 million of project costs in the $1.111 billion proposal. The review says that when the funding gap and a one-year delay are included, the price of the stadium goes up by $85 million to $1.196 billion. The report, which was obtained by MPR News prior to its scheduled release Wednesday, was completed by the Metropolitan Council and the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission.”

Better news for the Vikings is that there will be no county-wide vote on the stadium tax. The AP story says: “A proposed local sales tax to pay for a new Minnesota Vikings stadium won’t be going to voters. The Vikings had complained that putting the half-cent tax hike before voters would delay the project by two years and add at least $110 million to the $1 billion proposal. A Ramsey County panel on Tuesday rejected a countywide vote next year on a proposed sales tax hike to help build a new Vikings stadium. The vote by the county’s Charter Commission clears an obstacle for supporters of the Vikings’ plan for a $1 billion stadium in Arden Hills.”

The new tactic in the fifth day of the OccupyMN demonstration was a march on … banks. Mark Saxenmeyer of KAAL-TV in Austin reports: “[T]here were spirited turn-outs for two marches to downtown Minneapolis financial institutions (Wells Fargo and TCF). The group claims large banks are huge contributors to, what they call, ‘pro-corporate politicians and causes.’ Yet speaking of funding, as the days turn (potentially) into weeks, how much taxpayer money is being spent to keep the peace during these demonstrations? KSTP asked law enforcers and government leaders to weigh in on the subject. According to both Minneapolis Police and Hennepin County Sheriff officials, the strong law enforcement presence they’ve been providing isn’t adding up to any significant extra costs — yet. They say they’ve been able to effectively divert personnel and resources to the locations where demonstrations have occured. And overtime has been kept to a minimum. One of the reasons, they say, is because the movement has remained peaceful and problem-free, for the most part. There have been no arrests, for example.”

Meanwhile, “No Trespassing” signs have gone up in Duluth prior to OccupyDuluth activities. Says John Lundy of the News Tribune: “Newly placed “No trespassing” signs on the Minnesota Power Plaza aren’t meant to discourage free speech, a spokeswoman for the utility said Tuesday. The signs went up on Tuesday, the day after members of the newly formed group Occupy Duluth said they were considering occupying the plaza after a rally today. “It’s just us identifying an appropriate space for them,” said Amy Rutledge, Minnesota Power spokeswoman. … Joel Kilgour, a longtime Duluth activist who is part of the loosely structured protest group, said Occupy Minnesota would meet at 6 p.m. today after a two-hour ‘Occupy Solidarity’ rally hosted by the Twin Ports MoveOn Council and the Northland Anti-War Coalition as well as by Occupy Duluth.” You’ll know this thing is for real when it gets to OccupyWegdahl.

Lee Bergquist of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports: “Minnesota iron ore mines and taconite plants and a railroad that serves them have paid fines of more than $700,000 for pollution violations since 2004, according to public records. Mining advocates in Wisconsin have pointed to Minnesota and Michigan as states with regulations that Wisconsin should emulate as lawmakers begin writing new legislation tailored for iron ore mines. The companies paid 21 civil fines totaling $716,635 for violating air, water and hazardous waste laws in Minnesota. The largest fine in Minnesota since 2004 was $125,000 paid by United Taconite in Eveleth, Minn., for air quality regulations between 2004 and 2008. The company also agreed to make pollution upgrades that totaled $642,000.” The report comes from the Sierra Club, or as Our Favorite Congresswoman likes to say, “radical environmentalists.”

Big gummint is stepping in to help fight bed bugs. Christopher Snowbeck of the PiPress writes: “On Tuesday, entomologists at the University of Minnesota announced the launch of a new bedbug resource center that will offer guidance to consumers, landlords and hotel managers on how to deal with the growing number of bedbug infestations in the state. Funded with a grant of nearly $91,000 from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, the center will offer hotlines for people dealing with infestations and conduct seminars around Minnesota. The new center comes as an advisory council of state and local groups has been meeting monthly to share information about fighting bedbugs. A sampling of reports from advisory council members suggests that bedbug complaints in Minnesota increased by more than 500 percent from 2007 to 2010.”

Single ladies may be the only ones interested in the “man camps” of North Dakota. The AP says: “Concerned that a Colorado company appeared to be turning an old school building in the tiny town of Almont into dormitory-style housing for oil workers, city officials called a rare special meeting and banned such so-called man camps. The ordinance passed Monday in Almont — a town of about 100 people 35 miles southwest of Bismarck — illustrates a growing tension in western North Dakota, where temporary housing has risen from the plains to accommodate a massive oil boom. Mountrail and Williams counties also recently put moratoriums on new crew camps. In Almont, rumors were enough to spur the council to take pre-emptive action amid concerns that the camp could overwhelm resources. Residents had noticed ‘bed after bed after bed’ being moved into the building after it sold last month, City Auditor Lynne Jacobson said. ‘We would lose the quality of life here,’ Jacobson said. ‘We like our quiet little town’ Almont has no police force and boasts little more than a bar, a post office and a gas station that’s only open during bank hours, Jacobson said. The last reported crime in Almont was two years ago and involved car windows being broken by vandals. The man camp would mean traffic would increase — and so could crime.” I don’t know about you, but I’m thinking, “Deadwood” with pickup trucks.

I’m sure there are specifics somewhere, but the Greater MSP plan to market Minnesota better is now … out there. Gita Sitamariah of the PiPress covered Tuesday’s speechifying at the Pantages Theater and says: “The leaders of Greater MSP, the Minneapolis-St. Paul Regional Economic Development Partnership, presented their vision for a regional approach to economic development to business and community leaders Tuesday at the Pantages Theatre in Minneapolis. The private-public partnership, founded in March, said it had been working for six months toward Tuesday’s presentation and call to action to business and community leaders to promote the region to companies, workers and tourists. … The new group said it will focus on five sectors to bolster job growth in the Twin Cities. They are health and life sciences, corporate headquarters and business services, food and agribusiness, innovation and technology, and financial services and insurance.”

Today in Bachmannia:  Our Gal gets good marks from Reed J. Epstein of Politico for her performance in last night’s New Hampshire debate. “She gave serious answers — with the exception of a lighthearted joke comparing Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 tax plan to a sign of the devil — and didn’t whiff when Mitt Romney lobbed her a gift softball question. Bachmann trained her signature shot at her chief economic boogeyman, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform legislation, and, in so doing, blamed the federal government for the recession. ‘I think if you look at the problem with the economic meltdown, you can trace it right back to the federal government, because it was the federal government that demanded that banks and mortgage companies lower platinum-level lending standards to new lows,’ she said.” And by that logic Goldman, Sachs was dewy innocent caught in the crossfire.

Also, she got in touch with her inner Saddam, suggests Bob Drummond of Bloomberg. “Bachmann promised to push through ‘the mother of all repeal bills’ to cut government regulations if she is elected president. Bachmann singled out President Barack Obama’s health-care law as the ‘number one reason employers say they aren’t hiring today.’ ”

Comments (7)

  1. Submitted by scott cantor on 10/12/2011 - 07:14 am.

    “The report found that Ramsey County and the Vikings have miscalculated the amount of time it will take to get the environmental review and permitting completed.”

    Oh, puleeeeeze. We all know that the EPA and MPCA are going to be abolished by January 2013. And permitting? Pfffft! Sounds like someone hasn’t seen the new version of the MN Constitution.

  2. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 10/12/2011 - 07:27 am.

    Actually I think there could still be a referendum in Ramsey. Current law now requires it unless the legislature sets it aside. The thing about this charter commission is that in theory the legislature couldn’t have set it’s requirement aside. I think the Republicans could score some points and embarrass Dayton by refusing to set the referendum aside, and that might be more important to them than a Vikings stadium. They can stand up and say their protecting the voters, let the voters decide.

  3. Submitted by Rod Loper on 10/12/2011 - 07:31 am.

    If the Ramsey County tax goes through they should be called the Ramsey Realtors not the Minnesota Vikings. Any government support should be state-
    wide and include a roof. The republican-controlled legislature loves to saddle the metropolitan area with the costs of such a boondoggle while enjoying
    the benefits.

  4. Submitted by Ralf Wyman on 10/12/2011 - 09:49 am.

    There need to be direct consequences to the Ramsey County elected officials if they pass a tax for the stadium w/o a citizen vote. If WI can recall rogue legislators, I say recall whoever passes this billionaire welfare program.

  5. Submitted by James Hamilton on 10/12/2011 - 10:15 am.

    @Paul: Nice idea, but once it hits a special session, Ramsey County voters are toast. There’s no way they’ll risk a no vote in Ramsey County.

    For those who say we did it for the Gophers and we did it for the Twins and, therefore, must do it for the Vikes: you’ve got it backwards. The Twins and Gophers did it to us; we don’t have to let another sports franchise have its way with us.

  6. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 10/12/2011 - 10:31 am.

    Considering that it’s very likely the former ammunition plant site will eventually be revealed to have MUCH bigger and more difficult pollution problems than previously thought and, therefore, much HIGHER cleanup costs than previously thought,…

    and considering that California options are rapidly fading into the vaporous negotiating tactic that they always were (both here and there),…

    I’d suggest that Mr Wilf, et al, start facing reality: a complete interior rebuild of the current Metrodome, while maintaining it’s external structures and adding new exterior facades, is going to be their only viable option for a new “home” for the Vikings.

    Perhaps this would not provide as many construction jobs as a new stadium, but it would still provide a boost in employment for substantial numbers of construction workers.

    Meanwhile, in North Dakota, which looks from the outside to be one of the most prosperous rural states in the entire nation, the massive infrastructure problems being created by the “oil boom” leaves me to wonder where all the money from that oil is going.

    I would think that there would be plenty of resources available to make sure the thousands of men who have traveled to Western North Dakota to find jobs would also find adequate available housing in which to live, but that is clearly not the case.

    I suppose it will take a massive blizzard and the freezing to death of a substantial number of workers living in substandard housing (i.e. their vehicles or in tents, if they can find a place which will let them erect them) before it will occur to anyone in “conservative” North Dakota that a different approach needs to be considered.

  7. Submitted by RB Holbrook on 10/12/2011 - 01:09 pm.

    #2: “I think the Republicans could score some points and embarrass Dayton by refusing to set the referendum aside, and that might be more important to them than a Vikings stadium.” Except that a new Vikings stadium would be a massive gift from the taxpayers of the state to a very wealthy man. Honestly, how would they choose between the two?

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