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Mr. Dilettante’s Neighborhood: Vikings to Arden Hills? XIX — Still Dead and Still Too Dumb to Lie Down

I’ll give R.T. Rybak and the rest of the folks in Minneapolis this much — they’re nothing if not persistent. Once again they trotted out their plans for a stadium the Vikings don’t want:

Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak said Monday that the city is prepared to help finance any one of three downtown sites for a Vikings stadium, each of which would be cheaper than the team’s preferred site in Arden Hills.
At the same time, Minneapolis City Council President Barb Johnson said she thinks the council will support a casino in the city’s Block E entertainment district that could provide financing for the stadium and other city priorities.

And, of course, Vikings spokesman Lester Bagley had the same response:

Lester Bagley, the team’s vice president of stadium development, said Minneapolis officials should save their breath.
“There’s a viable plan on the table, and the Vikings are entirely focused on resolving the issue and building this stadium in Arden Hills,” Bagley said.

So why is this news? Well, there’s one thing that is different — Rybak and the city council are apparently willing to tax folks in Minneapolis more:

Rybak said a citywide sales tax would be the main financing component and that there is support on the City Council to approve such a tax. He said he could support a downtown casino as part of a stadium package if some of its proceeds were directed to the city’s impoverished Indian community.
Johnson said there are votes on the council to approve a Block E casino and called it an “attractive option” for the city’s entertainment district. Council Member Gary Schiff said he thinks there are votes for a casino but that his support may depend on the developer signing “a jobs plan that invests in high-poverty communities.”

The citywide sales tax would be an interesting development, because it would really hurt Minneapolis businesses. If you dine out in downtown Minneapolis, you are already on the hook for a sales tax of about 10% because of the taxes added to pay for the Convention Center, Target Field and Rybak’s valet service. I’ll bet some of the local eateries will be thrilled about the prospect of piling on another 1% or maybe more. Of course, since there’s no chance it will happen Rybak might as well propose adding an additional !eleventy!! percent tax. We’ll get that new stadium paid for in a matter of months!

We went through all this back in May, of course. We’re now 5 months on and the Vikings haven’t changed their minds, for all the reasons we’ve covered here. Minneapolis can offer everything but the one thing the current Vikings ownership wants, which is sufficient real estate to build the giant parking lot that would bring an additional revenue stream to the deal. So why do we continue to talk about Minneapolis? In the end, I think the reason is pretty simple — everyone knows what the deal really is in Arden Hills. What the Vikings want is outrageous, but they know they can get it from someone.

Here’s a little unsolicited advice for the Minneapolis crowd — if you really want the Vikings to stay in Minneapolis, you should stop pestering Mark Dayton and Zygi Wilf. You need to start calling on the local plutocrats and get them involved in an offer to buy the team from Wilf. It’s possible that Wilf would sell the team for the right price, which would likely be a 1 with a vapor trail of zeroes after it. That’s the only way your dreams will ever come to fruition. It’s also an effort that should have started months ago, but it’s the only hope for Minneapolis now.

This post was written by Mark Huering and originally published on Mr. Dilettante’s Neighborhood.

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Comments (3)

  1. Submitted by Bernice Vetsch on 10/25/2011 - 06:57 pm.

    I don’t believe it’s written anywhere that the Vikings must be given everything they want, without regard to the unnecessary expense to which the people of Minnesota (especially Ramsey County and the city of St. Paul) would be put.

    Arden Hills looks to me as though there will be as yet unidentified large expenses for public infrastructure as Mr. Wilf builds his “village.”
    Is it really a good idea to add to suburban sprawl instead of to prevent it? Can’t Mr. Wilf build his “village” someplace else on land he purchases and develops?

    Marty-Runbeck have the answer: Sell the Dome to Mr. Wilf for $1.00, to which I would add that the Vikings accept that offer or say Goodbye.

  2. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 10/26/2011 - 06:55 am.

    If the people of Minneapolis are willing to pay for a Vikings Stadium on top of the Twins Stadium they are already on the hook for, I say more power to them. For me, the greatest single thing for Minneapolis, about the Arden Hills site, is that it’s not in Minneapolis, and that the good people of Ramsey County seem to be the ones eager to pay for it.

  3. Submitted by Mark Heuring on 10/26/2011 - 07:59 am.

    Bernice, you are correct — it certainly isn’t written anywhere that the Vikings must be given everything they want. All I’ve been trying to say throughout the series of articles is this — we need to decide how much the Vikings are worth to us.

    Hiram, I don’t know that the good people of Ramsey County are eager to pay for a new stadium. But I do know that if 4 of the 7 members of the Ramsey County board are eager to make the citizens of Ramsey County pay, so we shall.

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