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Dayton: Metrodome only workable site for new Vikings stadium

Posted by: Rachel E. Stassen-Berger Updated: January 23, 2012 - 7:51 PM

Gov. Mark Dayton Monday told the owner Minnesota Vikings that if they want to get a new stadium approved this year, they will have to build one at the current Metrodome site.

“The governor spoke to Mr. Zygi Wilf this afternoon and told him that if we are going to get a stadium bill passed this year, it will have to be at the Metrodome site,” the governor’s spokeswoman Katharine Tinucci said. She said the Wilfs will come to Minnesota on Wednesday to meet with Dayton.

Just last week, Dayton appeared to prefer building a new stadium on Minneapolis’ Linden Avenue and said that he lacked enough information to fully recommend any site.

The Vikings and Dayton have previously voiced doubts about the viability of the downtown Minneapolis location, citing, among other problems, that the Vikings would have to play in the University's TCF Bank Stadium while their new stadium was underway. The Vikings have said there would be at least $50 million in additional cost to play at the University  for three years.

The Vikings Vice President of Public Affairs and Stadium Development said the team was informed by the governor’s office that a new Linden Avenue stadium in Minneapolis would not work. Both Dayton and the Vikings appeared to be warming to that Minneapolis location last week.

“We were told by the governor’s office that Linden Ave is not workable at least in the short term,” said Lester Bagley, the Vikings Vice President. “All I can tell you is that our ownership is extremely frustrated with the situation.”

Minneapolis City Council member Meg Tuthill is one of three on the Council who remain undecided on the mayor’s funding plan, but she is outright opposed to using the Linden Avenue site. She said it is “totally unacceptable” because of its potential harm to the nearby Basilica and the businesses that would need to be relocated.

“I just can’t imagine that we would build a stadium there for a multitude of reasons,” Tuthill said. “So I’m very pleased to hear it’s off the table.”

She added: “Putting it in the Metrodome is the only thing that makes sense. Now we have to look at the rest of the plan and see what we can come up with.”

Tuthill said it was already a “crying shame” when the freeway was built around the Basilica. A stadium will create added issues for the facility, particularly parking problems and “constant disruption.”

“The Basilica was huge and the relocation of the businesses – those two together added up to not working for me at all.”

Eric Roper and Jim Ragsdale contributed to this report.

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