On Monday, plans were announced for the construction of two large parking ramps outside the new Vikings stadium. The ramps are scheduled to be built in the area currently used for tailgating and the announcement has some fans wondering if there will be any tailgating allowed.
For years, the Vikings set the standard for tailgating. The massive parking lot that connected both Metropolitan Stadium and Met Center over a sprawling area made it possible for anyone who wanted to show up for the games early or stay late to have the full tailgating experience. Once the Vikings moved to the Metrodome, that effectively came to an end except for the die-hard fans who squeezed into the few vacant parking lots around the Dome. Now it appears that those few precious spots will get swallowed up due to stadium development.
Director of Corporate Communications Jeff Anderson addressed the topic on the Vikings official website Monday following the announcement of the planned parking ramp construction with Ryan Companies.
"We know traditional tailgating is important for Vikings fans and out our goal is to ensure that it continues with the new stadium," Anderson wrote. "While we have some time to develop those plans, we are already well underway working on this team priority. We recently completed an internal survey of season ticket owners to better understand the approximate number of fans who tailgate. We have also been working with Impark, our game day parking operator, to identify parking lots throughout the downtown Minneapolis corridor as potential tailgate locations for the future. This report, along with the survey, will help shape our internal conversations as well as our discussions with the City of Minneapolis officials, who agreed to address expanding the tailgate zone as part of the stadium legislation."
What that statement intimated was that, as things currently stand, there are no finalized plans for a tailgating area near the stadium. The fact that there are discussions about using existing parking lots not currently being used for tailgating suggests that options are still being reviewed and explored.
Anderson went on to write that the potential still exists that the same general area used for tailgating now could be utilized at the new stadium as it is now.
"The other interesting development is the two-block park included in the potential Ryan Companies project. A nine-acre park next to a two-acre plaza could create some unique tailgating opportunities that do not currently exist in other markets."
Whether fans take part in tailgating or not prior to games, it is a time-honored tradition for many Vikings fans – even if they've been herded up like cattle in a pen since the Metrodome opened. The Vikings are aware of fan concerns and will be looking to address it when ground starts to get broken for the construction of the new stadium. However, it would appear the tailgating options remain fluid and haven't been etched in stone like so many other aspects of the stadium design.
For those who partake in tailgating as a part of their game day experience, it shouldn't be panic time. The team and the construction powers that be are aware of the concerns and are looking for solutions.
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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