By Mike Kaszuba
The likely Senate author of legislation for a new Minnesota Vikings stadium said Monday that Ted Mondale, the new Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission chair, is already taking a lead in helping shape the new stadium drive.
“He’s definitely a player,” said Sen. Julie Rosen, R-Fairmont, who said she has met with Mondale since he was named chair on Jan. 14 by Gov. Mark Dayton.
Rosen said some of the proposal’s thorniest details “will be put on the back of Ted Mondale.” Rosen, who earlier said she hoped to introduce stadium legislation by the end of January, said again Monday that the time table was being pushed back.
“We’re somewhat splintered here,” she said of legislators. “Our attention’s all over the place, so we need some help.
“Ted Mondale coming on the scene is a very good move on the governor’s part,” Rosen added.
On Wednesday Mondale, the son of former U.S. Vice President Walter Mondale, will make his first public appearance at the State Capitol since being named the commission’s chair when he testifies before a Senate local government panel.
Using taxpayer money to help the Vikings build a new stadium, which continues to be opposed in public opinion polls, is expected to be a controversial issue again this year at the Legislature.
Rosen said the stadium proposal was still being developed, but stopped short of predicting that the Legislature would approve a public subsidies package for a new Vikings stadium this year. “I think last year I said 70 percent chance it’s going to get done,” she said, laughing. “I’m not a betting girl anymore.”
Since 1982, the Vikings have played at the Metrodome, which is owned by the sports facilities commission. But the team, as part of its strategy for a new facility, has announced it will not renew its lease at the domed stadium after 2011. The Metrodome meanwhile has been temporarily out of commission since a December snowstorm collapsed its inflatable roof.
Rosen said she is giving progress reports to Republican Senate leaders, who have a majority in the Senate for the first time in more than a generation, and said they were not discouraging the effort. “They’re listening,” she said. “They have a lot of [other] urgent issues.”
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