She appeared with Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak and Council President Barb Johnson to voice support for the construction jobs that would be created, but Council Member Diane Hofstede still has questions about what might be in the final Vikings stadium package.
Hofstede represents Ward 3, which includes two neighborhoods in north, northeast and southeast Minneapolis. Before joining the council, she was president of the Minneapolis Library Board.
This is another in my continuing series of interviews with council members about the city’s stadium plan.
MinnPost: You were at the mayor’s news conference talking about construction jobs. What else do you want in the final stadium package?
Diane Hofstede: I think we have a number of issues, the Convention Center being one of them, but another concern is the cost of the Target Center and the ongoing drain and impact that has on our budget and our resources.
MP: You sit on the Way and Means/Budget Committee so you see those costs firsthand. How important are the Convention Center and Target Center as part of the stadium package?
DH: We need to look at the entire package as it develops and so we would evaluate that in relationship to the entire package. I think those assets that we have in the City of Minneapolis are actually state assets and contribute to the state resources. The ongoing expense of them [to Minneapolis] really needs to be examined by the state as part of this decision package.
MP: How important are the jobs?
DHd: Jobs are really critical. I was co-chair and led the Referendum Committee of the downtown Minneapolis Library and the Community Library Referendum.
In that process, I learned that when we were building during a recession how critically important it was to not only have living-wage jobs but to tie those jobs with minority business goals that needed to be met. We exceeded those goals.
What we also did was we teamed a very well-known construction company, Mortenson Construction, with a new struggling construction company called Fore Construction and were able to develop — not only meeting our minority and women hiring goals — but were also able to spin off other companies that in turn were able to develop and to hire and train more individuals.
The project manager on the library, was able to take those same hiring and job goals and incorporate them into the Twins stadium.
MP: What kind of reaction have you gotten to your support of the stadium proposal?
DH: People are giving feedback which, I think, is appropriate. And I think they understand that we don’t have a final proposal in place and that it is fluid. They are weighing in.
MP: But you have made a decision to support the stadium?
DH: We haven’t had a vote at the City Council, so until we have a vote, I’m supportive of moving ahead. … We don’t have a final proposal before us. So when and if we do, then we’ll have, I’m certain, more discussion, as we do with any major project.
If any developer comes to us, we would certainly analyze the proposal and determine what our participation would be in that. That’s just how we do business in the city. We would debate and discuss and evaluate.
MP: Do you see more council members coming on board to support a stadium proposal?
DH: Oh sure. Absolutely.
Two Cities blog, which covers Minneapolis and St. Paul City Halls, is made possible in part by grants from The Saint Paul Foundation and the Carolyn Foundation.