Dayton: Let's settle stadium issue, with talk of L.A.

"If we don't act in some way ... it's unrealistic in my opinion to think that we are not going to face competition for the team," said the governor, who set meetings for next week.

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In a file image released by AEG, a proposed NFL football stadium, to be named Farmers Field, is depicted next to Staples Center in Los Angeles.

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Gov. Mark Dayton said Friday that National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell told him Los Angeles' desire for a football team makes it all the more important for Minnesota to resolve the Vikings stadium issue.

Dayton said that no threats were lodged in Thursday's conversation with Goodell, but the implications of no action were clear.

"If we don't act in some way and get a stadium project going, it's unrealistic in my opinion to think that we are not going to face competition for the team in the near future," Dayton said.

The Vikings are one of several teams being mentioned as possibly relocating to Los Angeles, where there are competing proposals to build an NFL stadium.

The governor's comments capped a roller-coaster week for the controversial Vikings stadium project, which dodged a problematic referendum on Ramsey County's proposed sales tax but was hit by a report suggesting that the team's plans to build a $1.1 billion stadium in Arden Hills underestimated both the cost and the time needed to finish it.

The governor said he plans to schedule meetings next week with legislative leaders, NFL officials and Vikings owner Zygi Wilf to expedite the project before a possible special legislative session yet this year.

Dayton again suggested Friday that, even though the Vikings remain committed to Arden Hills, he was not ruling out a new stadium in Minneapolis, where the team has played since 1982.

Business and political leaders in Minneapolis have continued to work on plans to build the stadium downtown, but signs are few that those plans are coalescing.

"My sense is that the business community in Minneapolis doesn't want to be the reason the Arden Hills project goes down or goes away, so they're being overly polite about that process," said Dave Albersman, a Minneapolis urban planner who is promoting a Farmers Market plan with developer Bruce Lambrecht.

Chuck Leer, a developer who is leading an effort to have the Vikings build in Minneapolis, said "Minnesota Nice" was preventing people from telling it like it is.

"Few want to be honest, [but] Arden Hills is flat out a bad idea."

But Todd Klingel, CEO of the Minneapolis Regional Chamber of Commerce, said the overriding goal is to keep the team in Minnesota, period. If Ramsey County can do that, he said, hats off to them. "We're not going to try to derail that in any way," he said.

Two key Minneapolis players -- Target Corp. and backers of a new casino in downtown's Block E -- said Friday that they supported a new stadium for the Vikings, but left unclear what they were doing to have it built in Minneapolis.

"Target wholeheartedly supports the Vikings staying in the Twin Cities, as well as the development and city growth that contributes to the vibrancy of Minneapolis," said Stacia Smith, a Target spokeswoman.

Phillip Jaffe, a principal at Alatus LLC, the company that is proposing the Block E casino, said: "We're ready to talk with policymakers as they look for revenue solutions for the state."

Meanwhile Friday, a member of the Ramsey County Charter Commission warned Dayton and other leaders that a court battle could result if they allowed the county's stadium financing to circumvent the county charter.

Peter Hendricks, a St. Paul attorney, said that the charter requires the County Board to approve bonding by ordinance, mandating a public hearing, and gives residents the right to petition both for a charter amendment and for a referendum on any ordinance.

"If they draft a bill that takes away rights currently in the charter, then I think there's a possibility there could be litigation regarding whether state law can trump a home-rule charter," he said.

mkaszuba@startribune.com • 651-222-1673 kduchschere@startribune.com • 612-673-4455 rachel.stassen-berger@startribune.com • 651-292-0164

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