Arden Hills gets Vikings stadium look

  • Article by: CHRIS HAVENS and KEVIN DUCHSCHERE , Star Tribune staff writers
  • Updated: January 27, 2011 - 7:20 AM

The 430-acre site is the abandoned home of the Twin Cities Army Ammunition Plant. Officials will meet Thursday to talk about its prospects.

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Ted Mondale, new chair of the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission, made his first appearance at the State Capitol during a presentation to the Senate local government and elections committee.

Photo: David Joles, Star Tribune

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Ramsey County officials will meet Thursday with Ted Mondale, the new chair of the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission, to discuss prospects for a new Vikings stadium on the abandoned ammunitions site in Arden Hills.

The officials met Tuesday with Vikings president and owner Mark Wilf. They have scheduled two more meetings with team representatives next week.

Arden Hills officials, as well as county finance and real estate staffers, have been part of the discussions.

"We've got the best site and we're willing partners," said Ramsey County Commissioner Rafael Ortega, head of the County Board's facilities committee. "But this isn't about us jumping through hoops to get them."

He added Wednesday that no deal has been signed or money committed. No formal proposals have been brought to the full County Board, but a proposal could come forward soon.

Ramsey County Commissioner Tony Bennett said property taxes would not be used.

The 430-acre site, formerly the home of the Twin Cities Army Ammunition Plant, has long been prized as a redevelopment target but its size and pollution issues pose challenges.

A stadium would be a good way to do it, Bennett said. It likely would be located near Interstate 35W and Hwy. 10, he said.

Ortega said that county and team officials have met for more than a year and that discussions recently have been held almost weekly. There will be "quite a few meetings between a lot of parties" in coming weeks, he said.

Mondale said Gov. Mark Dayton isn't interested in spending public dollars on a roofless stadium, which Vikings owner Zygi Wilf has said he prefers. Mondale said the stadium commission doesn't yet have a position on whether the Vikings should help pay for a stadium roof, a notion that team officials have rejected.

But, he said, Dayton is "very concerned and insistent that any new stadium that receives public money" be a multipurpose, year-round facility.

Mondale updated a Senate committee Wednesday on the Metrodome's roof repair process and prospects for a new stadium. He said Dayton doesn't want a stadium bill to come up as a zero-hour issue after the budget debate, as happened last year.

"He wants to see the Legislature move something quickly. If they can't move a bill, if it's impossible, he doesn't want to spend the time on it," Mondale said.

He reiterated that, for a new stadium, the future is now.

"The Dome is down, the lease is up," Mondale said. "None of the legislators who voted for the Twins stadium -- they all came back. It wasn't an issue ... It's a non-election year. This is the year we need to get it done."

chavens@startribune.com • 651-298-1552 kduchschere@startribune.com • 612-673-4455

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