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Minnesota getting pro soccer; stadium funding TBD

Plus: Black Lives Matter shares MOA memories on Twitter; Super Bowl organizers demand more tax breaks; more oil trains for Theodore Wirth Park; and more.

Bill McGuire, second from left, at Wednesday's press conference.
MinnPost photo by Peter Callaghan

Well, it’s official: pro soccer is coming to Minneapolis. The successful MLS-bid group, led by former UnitedHealthcare exec Bill McGuire, held a press conference along with league officials to announce the selection. The Pioneer Press’ Andy Greder was on the scene: “ ‘We always felt good about the fact of who we were and what we were doing,’ McGuire told the Pioneer Press. ‘We had a soccer team and we are playing at an increasingly high level and recognized around the country, and, frankly, in other parts of the world, as being a up-and-coming franchise.’

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There’s only one, teensy question remaining: Part of the deal requires the group to build a new, soccer-specific stadium, which would cost $100–200 million. For now, that’s to-be-determined: “ ‘We haven’t talked to anybody about funding at all,’ McGuire said.”

Who could have seen this coming? Mall of America social media experts launched Monday the Twitter hashtag #ItsMyMall, encouraging shoppers to share their Mall of America memories, reports David Cazares for MPR. Unfortunately for mall officials, at least one sizable group with a very active social media presence has some memories that the mall would perhaps rather we forget:

A cursory review of the hashtag shows Black Lives Matter still going strong on #ItsMyMall.

Who could have seen this coming? Minnesota Super Bowl organizers are demanding additional $3 million in tax breaks, according to Doug Belden in the Pioneer Press, and GOP House Speaker Kurt Daudt and DFL Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk are disposed to agree: “ ‘The speaker and I have talked about it, and we’re going to try and find a way to accommodate that in the tax bill,’ said Bakk. Daudt said he has no objection to the extra tax exemption ‘if we can find a way to pay for it.’ ” $3 million? You’d probably only have to kick a few thousand people off Minnesota Care to come up with that.

Ahh, Theodore Wirth Park. Bike trails, golf, flower gardens and … oil trains? At least some Minneapolis residents are concerned about a plan that would route significantly more oil-bearing freight trains through the park and downtown Minneapolis, notes Dylan Thomas in the Southwest Journal. The proposal is not without risks: “Dave Christianson, a senior planner with the Minnesota Department of Transportation, said rerouting crude oil-hauling freight trains through Minneapolis would put an additional 50,000 people in a blast zone. That’s just the number of people living near the proposed reroute; it doesn’t include the thousands who work downtown or visit to shop or take in a Twins game, Christianson added.”

Your body parts aren’t worth much in Minnesota. That’s apparent in a data visualization put together by ProPublica’s Lena Groeger and Michael Grabell looking at the compensation rates for workers who lose body parts on the job across the United States. The rates are usually set in state law, and in Minnesota the compensation rate is below the national average for each body part examined.

In other news…

“Peace is threatening to break out in the Washington County city of Lake Elmo after weeks of turbulence.” [Star Tribune]

Police in St. Paul are cracking down on drivers who don’t yield to pedestrians [Pioneer Press]

“One of the world’s top chess players makes his move – to Minnetonka[Star Tribune]

Minneapolis will host a record eight Open Streets events in 2015 [Star Tribune]

The latest drug menace: marijuana wax [AP via MPR]

Minnesota Twins’ value is up to $895 million18th out of the 30-team MLB [Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal]