Shakopee stadium plan late developing

Arden Hills/Ramsey County stadium rendering

The Vikings were just contacted by Shakopee officials on Tuesday and don't know many details of a late-arriving proposal to build a new stadium near highways 169 and 101. The message from the Vikings Wednesday: They remain focused on Arden Hills.

The Vikings remain focused on a proposal to build a new stadium in Arden Hills, despite continued to efforts from the City of Minneapolis and a late-developing alternative in Shakopee.

The Vikings were only contacted by officials from Shakopee on Tuesday regarding their interest in building a new $920 million stadium near highways 169 and 101. Details of the plan were announced at a 4 p.m. Wednesday press conference at the State Capitol with Shakopee Mayor Brad Tabke.

"We have not seen the plan. We were just contacted by Mayor Tabke in the last 24 hours, so we have not taken a look at the Shakopee plan and don't know anything about it, any details," said Jeff Anderson, Vikings director of corporate communications, hours before the press conference. "Given that we're looking for a solution this legislative session, we're trying to focus in on one site rather than additional sites."

Arden Hills, a 430-acre site on a former munitions plant in Ramsey County, remains the Vikings' preferred site. In addition to a 260-acre footprint for a stadium and surrounding parking, that site has additional room for development.

The Shakopee plan was revealed to be 130 acres. While the Vikings' top stadium officials didn't attend the Wednesday afternoon press conference, Tabke was slated to be joined by Sen. Claire Robling, the Assistant Senate Majority Leader, Rep. Michael Beard of Shakopee and Angie Whitcomb, the Shakopee Chamber of Commerce president, as well as Cory Merrifield of the pro-stadium group Save The Vikes.

"We're thankful that they're trying to find a stadium solution, but we haven't seen a plan. We're looking for a solution early in 2012. Now is the time to focus on one site," Anderson said.

On Monday, the Vikings sent a letter to Minneapolis officials expressing their concerns with building a new stadium on the Metrodome site, saying there were $67 million in additional costs not presented in the original Metrodome-site proposal.

Anderson said the Vikings haven't received any reaction from Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak or City Council President Barbara Johnson regarding the letter, but "we expect to see that reflected in their final proposal, which is why we raised those concerns."

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton called for final proposals to be submitted by Thursday, making Shakopee's proposal even more daunting. The legislative session begins Jan. 24.

Minneapolis has also suggested alternative locations at the Farmer's Market and near the Basilica of St. Mary's, but Rev. John Bauer, the rector of the Basilica, raised concerns about construction and traffic if a new stadium was to be built nearby.

"The team met with Father Bauer and members of the Basilica and (we) continue to answer questions and address continued concerns they might have," Anderson said. "We were asked by state leaders to help analyze these sites and that's what we continue to do. Obviously our goal with any site is to be a good neighbor and have a positive impact."

Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here. Recommended Stories

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