Sports Facilities head Ted Mondale pushing Minneapolis to settle on one city stadium site

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.

Ted Mondale
Ted Mondale

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.”

Comments (4)

  1. Submitted by Matthew Zabka on 11/17/2011 - 05:30 pm.

    The Metrodome site is the cheapest, already has light rail access, and would remove the Metrodome.

    If a stadium is built somewhere else, the Metrodome becomes an empty, blighted house. Minneapolis should suggest the Metrodome site. The Vikings could play at TCF stadium while it’s being built!

  2. Submitted by Pete Barrett on 11/17/2011 - 08:11 pm.

    The NFL will tell Ziggy to take whichever site is offered. If he’s offered a renovated Metrodome, the league will not allow him to move the franchise. It’s the cheapest site, so why should we pay millions more so he can charge $30/vehicle for parking in Arden Hills?

  3. Submitted by Tom Christensen on 11/17/2011 - 08:35 pm.

    How about Wilf picking the site and then paying for the whole thing? No need to involve the public and the tax money will still go to the same place in St. Paul without any risk to the public. You know just like we do with other very private companies. Sports franchise blackmail has to stop.

  4. Submitted by Jane Pattinson on 01/19/2012 - 06:47 am.

    I am very concerned about the proposed sites for a Vikings stadium at the Farmers Market or Linden Ave. There are several thousand condos in the North Loop that have been built new or refurbished from historic buildings and most of the North Loop itself is part of an historic site. The people who purchased these condos typically are homesteaded owners—As the values dropped with the poor economy more have been rented out by absent owners, however. Another stadium is going to be burdensome for the homeowners here, especially due to the well-known heavy-drinking habits of Vikings fans. This is going to bring down the value of the condos even more. In the past fourteen or more years condo owners here have been a boon to the City of Minneapolis and Hennepin County. We have paid considerable amounts of property taxes and are the reason that the downtown River area and close-in Northeast have been cleaned up. Instead of changing the zoning on this side of the River to prevent the rough, male-oriented businesses the City and County have sat back and reaped the rewards with little regard to maintaining a safe environment here. When the Twins Stadium was forced in it immediately caused an up-tick of businesses that are considered undesirable in a neighborhood where there are many women and children. I am disgusted that politicians and business leaders regard us as being so expendable and will never forget the roles of those who have played a part in selling us out.

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