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Gov. Mark Dayton met with Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch and House Speaker Kurt Zellers about the Vikings stadium Friday.

Richard Sennott, Star Tribune

Stadium talks set at Capitol for next week

  • Article by: KEVIN DUCHSCHERE
  • Star Tribune
  • October 29, 2011 - 1:00 AM

A closed-door discussion Friday among state leaders on where and how to build a new Minnesota Vikings stadium yielded no breakthroughs, but talks are set for next week as the time for a special session ticks down.

After spending more than two hours largely focused on new Minneapolis financing options for three downtown sites, Gov. Mark Dayton, House Speaker Kurt Zellers and Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch declared they had "a very cooperative, constructive meeting."

"There's no breakthrough moment here to discuss, because we haven't reached that point," Dayton said. "Nothing earthshaking" happened, echoed Zellers.

Dayton said they looked at the various stadium options, discussed revenue streams and clarified information.

He also reflected on his Thursday helicopter viewing of the Vikings' preferred site in Arden Hills and the downtown Minneapolis sites proposed Thursday by Mayor R.T. Rybak.

Dayton said the airborne tour reinforced his view that a stadium in either city promised thousands of jobs to clear the site, build a stadium and operate it.

"Either one ... financed properly, would be a tremendous boon to the taxpayers of Minnesota," he said.

The governor said he's trying to give both cities equal billing. "Any site, as long it's in Minnesota, remains my determination," he said.

The leaders did not firm up plans for a Thanksgiving week special session on the stadium issue, which Dayton says he would call should there be legislative agreement. The governor intends to put forward his own stadium recommendation during the week of Nov. 7.

On financing options, Dayton said Friday night on TPT's "Almanac" program that DFL Sen. Tom Bakk's suggestion of electronic pulltabs held promise. They wouldn't directly challenge tribal casinos and would increase bar traffic and charitable proceeds, he said.

Dayton also said he believes Minnesota could lose the Vikings without a replacement for the Metrodome, which he called "obsolete in modern terms."

History shows, he said, that "sports teams move when they're discouraged with their situation and there's no prospect of improving." The only realistic way to build a stadium is through a public-private partnership, he said.

Earlier in the day, he said he was neither for nor against financing a Vikings stadium with Legacy funding, the sales tax that voters put in the state constitution for arts, environmental and cultural heritage projects. He said he just wanted all options on the table.

"What I want to do is encourage any constructive suggestion or idea or strategy to keep the Vikings here and finance a stadium," he said.

Referring to the prospect of Legacy funding, Koch said nothing is off the table.

Zellers spoke about the need for patience: "This is a complicated process and it's going to take a very creative solution. That takes time."

Kevin Duchschere • 612-673-4455

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