The director of Sharing and Caring Hands contends that selection of the Farmers Market location from among the several prospective sites for a new Minnesota Vikings stadium would force the Minneapolis charity to close, prompting her to vow that she and her allies will fight that proposed locale "with all our strength."
Mary Jo Copeland, the charity's founder, said in a letter to the editor submitted Thursday to the Star Tribune that the closing "would deprive the community of a great resource [that helps] thousands of families and needy people."
The Farmers Market location is among those in the hunt as the next home for the Vikings, with the strongest contenders being three in downtown Minneapolis and one in Arden Hills.
"We will oppose building on the Farmers Market site with all of our strength because this would mean the closing of Sharing and Caring Hands," Copeland wrote. The letter did not say whether the charity would cease operations or relocate. Copeland was not immediately available Friday morning to elaborate.
Late last month, Minneapolis City Council President Barb Johnson said that Vikings officials were concerned about the Sharing and Caring Hands' proximity to the Farmers Market site and what a stadium there would mean for the charity's fate.
Chuck Leer, a developer promoting the Farmers Market site, declined Friday to respond to Copeland's opposition.
Copeland voiced concern last spring that the proximity of a stadium would require the taking of the charity's property, although the plan proposed for the Farmers Market area didn't include Sharing and Caring Hands.
Her husband, Dick Copeland, after looking at the plan in May, said, "What I like about it is that it doesn't include us, and it reinforces how big this land is and that they don't need us at all" to build a stadium.
In the late 1980s, Copeland was forced to move her charity in downtown Minneapolis to make room for Target Center, home of the NBA's Minnesota Timberwolves.
Copeland also voiced opposition in her letter to a proposed Vikings stadium near the Basilica of St. Mary. The stadium "would negatively impact the grandeur and ambiance" of the basilica, she wrote.
The Metrodome site, she said, is best because it appears to be the least expensive and would create the least amount of disruption during construction.
Sharing and Caring Hands opened in 1985 and serves many hundreds of people every day who seek shelter, food and other emergency assistance.
Star Tribune Staff Writer Kevin Duchschere contributed to this report.
Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482