Pawlenty urges effort to keep Vikings in state

  • Article by: Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 2, 2009 - 11:51 PM

In his weekly radio show, he said "the Metrodome has served us well ... [but] its time is fading."

Tim Pawlenty

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While he stopped short of endorsing the Vikings' renewed push for a new publicly financed stadium, Gov. Tim Pawlenty on Friday said something must be done to keep the team in Minnesota.

"We value the Vikings' importance to Minnesota -- we need to find a way to keep our Minnesota Vikings," he said during his Friday morning weekly radio show.

Responding to callers asking about the team's request for an estimated $700 million in a "public-private partnership," Pawlenty echoed arguments made by the team's management.

"They've made it clear they're not going to stay in the Metrodome" after the team's lease expires after the 2011 season, Pawlenty said. "It's fair to say the Metrodome has served us well ... [but] its time is fading."

Pawlenty acknowledged that spending taxpayer money on another new Twin Cities stadium would be a tough sell in the current economic environment.

"People don't like spending public money for private industry," he said.

As for the Metrodome, Pawlenty said he plans to attend Monday night's Vikings-Packers game with Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle.

Pawlenty said it will give him the chance "to rib him literally and figuratively in real time."

With two cross-border football matchups looming (including Saturday's Minnesota-Wisconsin game) the governors have wagered home-state food and beer on the outcomes.

BOB VON STERNBERG

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