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Continued: Vikings push to add tailgating options in time for new stadium

  • Article by: RICHARD MERYHEW , Star Tribune
  • Last update: July 26, 2013 - 8:11 AM

“We’re committed to working cooperatively to find some solutions,” he said.

Other options discussed at Thursday’s committee meeting included blocking off some downtown streets on gamedays to allow for tailgating and building a massive deck over I-35W to connect the stadium site to the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood, where more parking could be made available.

David Fields, development director for the nearby Elliot Park neighborhood, said he was receptive to the idea of finding parking solutions to the neighborhoods east and to the south of the stadium — where Elliot Park is located.

“We are not, at Elliot Park, at all against tailgating,” he said.

But he added that it could be difficult to find a permanent solution given the ever-changing landscape of the city and fluid nature of development.

“This is just a meantime solution,” Fields said. “Because ultimately, we will always be arguing for the development and redevelopment of these surface parking lots.”

Railgating, too

The Vikings tailgating tradition took a big hit in the early 1980s after the team moved from Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington, which offered thousands of surface parking spaces, to downtown Minneapolis.

Last fall, in an effort to “add more sizzle” to the gameday experience, and anticipating that some lots surrounding the Metrodome could eventually be lost to post-stadium spinoff development, Rybak and city officials unveiled the concept of “railgating.”

The idea, an alternative to traditional tailgating, was launched as an experiment of sorts to get fans to head downtown and participate in pregame festivities.

For several Sundays last fall, food and beverage trucks set up along light-rail lines in a three-block stretch of 5th Street leading from the Metrodome to downtown to give fans more food options.

Nearly 1 in 5 fans attending Vikings home games travels to the stadium, located in one of the NFL’s most urban settings, by light rail.

That number is projected to jump to 1 in 4 when the stadium opens in 2016.

Lutz said the city plans to tweak the concept for this coming season, the team’s final season in the Metrodome.

“The situation is evolving,” Bagley said of tailgating options, “and we need to provide options and alternatives.”

 

Richard Meryhew • 612-673-4425







 

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