With a new Met Council report casting doubt on the timing and cost of a possible Vikings stadium in Arden Hills, Gov. Mark Dayton today reaffirmed his goal of keeping the Vikings in Minnesota and resolving the stadium issue.
He said in a statement that he will talk with team officials and politicians in the next few days, before deciding how to proceed.
“The Vikings owners must tell us whether they will accept the possibly longer timeline to build the stadium at their preferred Arden Hills site, and whether they will pay for any resulting additional costs,” he said.
He also said he’s willing to support a stadium plan in either Minneapolis or Arden Hills, “as long as the project’s financing, including any contingencies, is clearly defined and agreed upon by the representatives of the affected parties.”
The Met Council report had noted that it isn’t realistic to expect an Arden Hills stadium to be ready by 2015; it would be more likely 2016 or 2017, with much higher costs than now expected.
Earlier, Ted Mondale, chair of the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission, had said: “The proposal’s schedule is too aggressive and the cost of remediation too uncertain.”
Dayton’s full statement:
“I thank the Metropolitan Council and the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission for completing their analyses of a “People’s Stadium” ahead of schedule. Their assessments provide the people of Minnesota, the owners of the Minnesota Vikings, legislators, other concerned parties, and myself with essential information about the expected timelines and costs to prepare the site, build the stadium, and provide the necessary transportation improvements at the Vikings’ preferred location in Arden Hills.
“Now it is time to decide whether or not to undertake this project and, if so, where to locate it and how to pay for it. The Vikings owners must tell us whether they will accept the possibly longer timeline to build the stadium at their preferred Arden Hills site, and whether they will pay for any resulting additional costs.
“The Minnesota Legislature must decide whether or not to authorize the project and, if so, where to locate it, and how to finance both the state and local shares. I must concur and sign all of those provisions into law, before work can begin.
“I am willing to support a stadium in either Arden Hills or Minneapolis, as long as the project’s financing, including any contingencies, is clearly defined and agreed upon by the representatives of the affected parties. I have no current preference for the means to finance either the state’s share or the local partner’s share of the project, except that no state tax revenues may be used, and the funds necessary to pay off any public debt must be both guaranteed and sufficient. I also insist that a public authority ultimately own and operate this “People’s Stadium” for the benefit of our entire state.
“Various ways to finance the state and local shares have been suggested. Now is the time for their advocates to state definitively both how and how quickly they could be implemented. Meanwhile, if this project is to proceed, the Vikings management and the state and local decision-makers must agree upon the stadium’s location, its projected costs and timetable for completion there, each party’s share of those costs, the means to finance them, and the assignments of powers and responsibilities to the individual public and private partners, as well as to the ultimately controlling public authority.
“During the next few days, I will be meeting and talking with the Vikings owners, legislative leaders, local officials, and other concerned parties. The Vikings are extremely important to many, many Minnesotans. Keeping them here is also very important to our state’s national stature and standing. I will continue to do all I can to identify the best “Minnesota Solution” for building a People’s Stadium that will benefit our entire state economically and also keep the Vikings the Minnesota Vikings for decades to come.”