Vikings Stadium Gets Final Approval with Minneapolis City Council Vote
The Minneapolis City Council voted 7-6 on Friday, to approve the financing package to build a new Minnesota Vikings stadium. A day earlier a committee of the council approved local tax funding which would allow construction of the stadium. Thursday’s vote passed by the same 7-6 margin. The approval will also make way for funds to be used for the renovation of the 23-year-old Target Center, home to the Timberwolves and Lynx as well as many other events.
“I hope people will recognize what this is about,” said Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak. “It’s one of those tough decisions you need every generation or so to keep a city moving forward. It’s also based on what’s been something that I’ve had to deal with from the start, which is to clean up the city’s finances. And I think we did that.”
Rybak told James Lileks of the Star Tribune, “We have the new football place that will hopefully have pro soccer that’s on one side of downtown, on the other side of downtown we got enough money to make a pretty dramatic renovation to Target Center. And oh, by the way, we’ve solidified long term funding for the Convention Center, so we can keep building that industry.”
Speaking about the new stadium and the planned public plaza in front of the facility, Rybak stated, “We want it to be an active sports place. So while there is, hopefully, pro soccer inside, there’s ongoing soccer tournaments out there with Somali kids playing Latino kids from East Philips and the West Bank, as it becomes a gathering place.”
With the City Council vote the City of Minneapolis will pay $150 million of the $975 million stadium cost and ends the political side of the stadium bill which the Vikings have been working on for over 10 years.
The next step will be the planning of the stadium which will start immediately with the Vikings hoping to break ground in 2013. The Vikings have mentioned the possibility of a retractable roof which they have inferred would be necessary if they do indeed want to bring a Major League Soccer team in to Minnesota to play in the new stadium. The approved stadium bill gave the Vikings owners first rights to bring an MLS team to play in the stadium within the first 5 years after the venue is complete and the Vikings take the field for the first time.
Next up in the process will be the creation of the new Stadium Authority which will replace the old Metropolitan Stadium Commission. Three members will be appointed by Gov. Dayton and two by Minneapolis Mayor Rybak. The Vikings will then begin working with the authority on the design of the stadium and hiring an architect. That process will take roughly 10-12 months with the ground-breaking taking place next spring or summer.