Minneapolis Mayor R. T. Rybak said Tuesday the city would contribute $300 million to a new Minnesota Vikings stadium built at the Metrodome, and that an enhanced fan experience would include using the nearby Minneapolis Armory as an “event space” on game days.
Rybak’s comments, coming on another day of high-profile stadium debate at the state Capitol, were made at a second Minnesota Senate hearing on a new Vikings stadium and how to finance it. The testimony also included officials from Ramsey County, where the Vikings want to build a $1.1 billion stadium in suburban Arden Hills.
But while Ramsey County officials said they were still working on a financing plan, Rybak was forceful in saying the city wanted to keep the team in the state’s largest city.
“We are prepared, with existing revenue streams, to put $300 million on the table,” said the mayor, who met with the Vikings on Monday and with Senate Republican leaders earlier Tuesday. “We do have the plan that will create all of the revenue options that are necessary for the Vikings.”
As he has in the past, Rybak said a series of local city taxes now going to help pay for Minneapolis’ convention center could be eventually diverted to help pay the city’s share of a new stadium built at the Metrodome, where the Vikings have played for 29 years. But he acknowledged Tuesday that the money would not be immediately available and would force the Vikings to temporarily play at the University of Minnesota’s TCF Bank Stadium.
In his latest proposal however Rybak for the first time included having the aging armory, which he said would remain privately owned and sits two blocks from the Metrodome, become part of a Vikings’ game day experience. He also briefly – but vaguely – outlined a series of improvements along 4th and 5th Streets in downtown Minneapolis near the Metrodome to help enhance the fan experience.
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