So they had a public hearing on the Vikings stadium at the Capitol today and the Vikings were told that they need to talk to Minneapolis:
“There is no done deal here as far as I’m aware of,” said Sen. Julianne Ortman, R-Chanhassen, who chairs the influential Senate Taxes Committee and presided over Tuesday’s hearing. “There is no fait accompli.” A second hearing will be held Dec. 6.
In one of the hearing’s pivotal moments, Ortman pointedly told Lester Bagley, the team’s vice president for stadium development and public affairs, that it would be “in your best interest” to meet again with Minneapolis officials before partnering with Ramsey County and firmly committing to a site in Arden Hills. While Bagley said the team would oblige, he said that with Ramsey County “we think it’s important that we stick with the local partner that sticks with us.”
I’m not sure what this meeting would accomplish, unless R. T. Rybak and the rest of the gang in the Mill City have a way to replace the $10 million parking revenue stream that the Vikings expect to collect if they get to build their palace in Arden Hills. As we’ve noted all along, the Vikings don’t care about existing infrastructure, unless it delivers automobiles to parking lots they control. Not one of the sites that Rybak is floating will have that. Are they confused?
In addition Rybak said that, without input from the Vikings, city officials and business leaders still did not know which of three downtown sites to officially support.
Here’s a hint to the befuddled mayor and his retinue: the site that works best is the one that has 20,000 parking spaces the Vikings would control. If Rybak can deliver that, the Vikings might come downtown. Better get cracking on that land acquisition.
As you would expect, the meeting accomplished nothing, really. The question hasn’t really changed since the very beginning: will Minnesota pony up what the Vikings want? If Minnesota will, Wilf will smile, build and count his money. If Minnesota won’t, Wilf will likely sell the team. There are potential buyers in Los Angeles. Are there potential buyers in Minnesota? If the lege won’t pay the ransom money, Vikings fans had better hope that someone with deep, deep pockets is willing to buy the team.