For years, it was impossible to get a stadium deal brought up by legislators. Now you can't shake a tree without a stadium proposal.
As the Vikings try to finalize a deal to build a new stadium at or near the Metrodome, two more potential stadium proposals are being introduced as legitimate legislation at the State Legislature. Why exactly they're surfacing now is unknown – and makes little sense. In many ways, it's like the 11th hour Shakopee proposal. It's the kind of proposal that came out of nowhere and seems to be counterproductive to the current effort being made to a secure a viable stadium deal. The only chance either proposal will ever see the light of day would be if all other viable proposals fall by the wayside.
One, proposed by Republican Rep. Rod Hamilton from Mountain Lake, essentially promotes the current Arden Hills site with electronic gaming being the mechanism by which the state would pay for its share of the stadium. The plan would have the Vikings kick in $425 million to the project and would, in many ways, mirror the amount of contribution the Vikings would make in the flat-lined Ramsey County proposal.
The other plan – sponsored by Republican Senators Roger Chamberlin (Lino Lakes), David Hann (Eden Prairie) and Pam Wolf (Spring Lake Park) – would have the state pay for the infrastructure costs and give the Wilfs and stadium investors loans at 5.9 percent to build the stadium and, in effect, have the Vikings pay more than 80 percent of the stadium construction cost. Aside from the plan being summarily rejected by the Vikings, it also fails to identify a location for the proposed pay-as-you-go stadium project.
At a time when the Vikings have begrudgingly accepted a site and project that they didn't want themselves, there would appear to be no end of the bogus alternate plans being thrown out by obscure politicians whose only motivation would appear to be to either muddy the water or take political shots at Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton, who has openly supported getting the Metrodome area stadium deal done this Legislative session.
One almost feels fondly about the days when the Legislature simply gave a loud, resounding "Nope" to stadium discussion instead of scatter-gun plans that would only appear to be hindering the process of actually getting a deal done than being a genuine effort to assure the Vikings remain in Minnesota for generations to come.
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for 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.
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