By Mike Kaszuba and Jim Ragsdale
The city of Minneapolis will advocate for the Metrodome stadium site at a legislative committee hearing Tuesday, a spokesman for the Minnesota Vikings said.
Lester Bagley said city officials made that choice clear to them in a meeting on Monday. "The city informed us they're going to advocate for the Metrodome site,'' Bagley said. "We raised questions and issues about all of the sites" in Minneapolis. Bagley said the team remains committed to a site in the Ramsey County suburb of Arden Hills.
With a Minnesota Senate panel about to start a second public hearing on a new Minnesota Vikings project, Minneapolis officials were meeting privately with key legislators at the State Capitol to discuss a stadium plan that looks to be increasingly focused on the Metrodome.
Mayor R.T. Rybak, City Council President Barbara Johnson met with Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch, R-Buffalo, and Sen. Julie Rosen, R-Fairmont, the Senate stadium bill sponsor. Also present were representatives of Gov. Mark Dayton and stadium commission head Ted Mondale.
All Rybak would say after the meeting is that "we had a constructive meeting with these legislators -- we had a constructive meeting with the Vikings yesterday.''
At the Senate’s first hearing last week, Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak said that building the project on the site of the Metrodome – the Vikings’ current home -- would be the city’s first choice. “If I had to choose” the choice would be the Metrodome, said the mayor. He said however that two other downtown Minneapolis sites, near the Minnesota Twins’ new Target Field, offered the team and the Legislators asked city officials last week to try to narrow the city's stadium choice.
Though the hearing is not expected to lead to a formal vote, it could indicate which of a variety of funding mechanisms – including gambling – is gaining favor. The Vikings want a $1.1 billion stadium in Ramsey County’s Arden Hills.