Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission Chairman Ted Mondale on Thursday joined Gov. Mark Dayton in calling for Minneapolis to whittle down its three proposed sites for a Vikings stadium to one.
But unlike the governor, Mondale put a timetable on it — by Nov. 29, when the state Senate convenes the first of two informational hearings about stadium issues.
“If those hearings are on Nov. 29, and they’re looking at things that are being proposed, that’s probably a pretty good date,” Mondale told MinnPost Thursday morning after the MSFC’s monthly meeting.
“We’ve been pretty clear with Minneapolis to say, ‘We can’t track three sites with this process. Bring your best and final one forward.’ “
Whether Minneapolis can do that in time remains to be seen.
Drawings and details of the third site, along Linden Avenue behind the Basilica of St. Mary, were only made public two days ago, although several city officials saw AECOM/Ellerbe Becket architect Mic Johnson’s plans for the site before that.
Besides a retractable-roof stadium, it includes an amphitheater, a plaza over Interstate 394 and an art garden, plus surface and underground parking for about 7,000 cars. Proposals for a renovated Metrodome and the Farmers Market site are more detailed.
Mayor R.T. Rybak’s spokesman, John Stiles, said Mondale’s comments were news to them.
“We haven’t had any conversations with Ted or the governor’s office about it,” Stiles said. “At some point when the mayor and the city council president think it’s time to select one site over the other ones, we’ll do that.”
Stiles declined to speculate when that might be.
City Council President Barb Johnson did not immediately return a call from MinnPost.
Mondale reiterated the opinion Dayton expressed in an op-ed piece in last Sunday’s Star Tribune, in which Dayton urged Minneapolis to choose one site, and the Legislature to set a deadline for a final vote. At the Capitol on Thursday, Dayton again pushed to have the stadium issue decided before the regular legislative session begins Jan. 24.
“Clearly, in the governor’s op-ed, he said, look, bring a proposal forward. I can’t track three,” Mondale said. “That’s not how the Legislature works. It might be Farmers Market, I don’t know. They need to narrow that down.”
But with the Ramsey County Commission voting to purchase 430 acres in Arden Hills for a stadium, Minneapolis might already be too late.
Vikings spokesman Jeff Anderson did not dismiss a Minneapolis bid but noted the Arden Hills proposal suits the Vikings’ parking and development needs. “We’ll continue to focus on that site,” he said.
Thursday, Mondale told the MSFC that the state senators are confident they can produce a stadium bill.
“We were originally going to have a neutral bill and a site selection committee, because we didn’t think we could get a deal all put together prior to session,” Mondale said. “That proved to be true. The goal is to have two fleshed-out proposals, and hopefully go with one in a bill, either before session or early in a regular session.”