4 more years at the Dome?

  • Article by: MIKE KASZUBA , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 7, 2011 - 11:20 PM

Another idea surfaces on paying for new home for the Vikings: Have the public buy shares in the team.

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Gov. Mark Dayton's chief stadium negotiator said on Monday that the Vikings could spend four more years at the Metrodome if a new facility is built in Ramsey County's Arden Hills or in Minneapolis.

Ted Mondale, chair of the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission, which owns the Metrodome, also said that if the new stadium is built at the Metrodome, that facility could be demolished as early as next summer.

"If we pass [stadium legislation] in January and the Dome is the selected site," Mondale said, "there's a chance we blow it up over the summer." The team, he said, probably would have to play at the University of Minnesota's TCF Bank Stadium until the new facility was ready.

Mondale's comments came as one more idea surfaced for a new stadium: Have the public buy shares in the team, enabling them to own a piece of the Vikings and help finance a stadium.

The community ownership idea has been floated before, but Rep. Phyllis Kahn, DFL-Minneapolis, said on Monday that she would introduce legislation to require Dayton and the Sports Facilities Commission to work with the NFL to make it happen.

"Dayton asked for all ideas to be put on the table and that's exactly what I'm doing here," Kahn said. "No single idea [for publicly funding a new stadium] has gained enough traction to pass the Legislature."

The funds from selling stock in the Vikings, she said, could go toward helping the team build a stadium. She said that under her plan, Vikings owner Zygi Wilf and his family could retain a 30 percent controlling interest in the team.

Kahn said she introduced similar legislation in 2005, when the Twins were pushing for a new, publicly subsidized stadium and garnered 34 authors in the House. The legislation did not pass, and the Twins' new Target Field was funded largely by a countywide sales tax increase in Hennepin County.

Mondale, meanwhile, said he is confident the Vikings will play their 2012 season in the Metrodome despite the team's continued assertion that its lease expires Feb. 1, with the conclusion of their 2011 season.

Only last week Mondale contended that a clause in the Vikings' 30-year use agreement at the Metrodome obligated the team to play at the facility in 2012. Because a snowstorm last winter collapsed the building's inflatable roof, the team played two home games elsewhere, Mondale said, triggering an automatic one-year lease extension.

Mike Kaszuba • 651-222-1673

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