The Metrodome site has become the No. 1 choice of Minneapolis city officials hoping to keep the Vikings in the city.
Mayor R.T. Rybak told a joint state Senate committee today that building a Vikings stadium on the old stadium site would cost $215 million less than any other proposed site. Additionally, he spoke of the infrastructure already is in place.
A week ago, Rybak had been chastised by members of the committee because city officials had not selected a single site, nor had they met with the Vikings.
The mayor said that neither of two other sites — near Target Field — remain on the table, making the dome site No. 1.
Rybak and City Council President Barbara Johnson also said they had now had their meeting with the Vikings.
“Very productive,” Johnson and Rybak both said of that meeting.
Lester Bagley, a Vikings vice president, earlier in the hearing told members of the Senate Taxes and State Government committees, that the team had fulfilled legislators’ request that the Vikings meet with Minneapolis officials.
Bagley sounded less than thrilled about that meeting.
“Arden Hills remains our preferred site,” he said.
The Vikings have often spoken of the “game-day experience” for football fans at the Ramsey County location. That mostly appears to mean tail-gating in massive parking lots controlled by the Vikings.
Rybak vowed today that Minneapolis could offer a different sort of “game day experience.” He proposed that the team use the old Armory building near the Metrodome site for pre-game and post-game fan experiences. He also talked of making “enhancements” along streets leading to the new stadium on the old site.
During construction of the new stadium, Rybak noted the team would need to play at the University of Minnesota’s football stadium.
The hearing, which will include no votes, was scheduled to include three hours of public testimony.