A revamped, smaller zone for tailgating in downtown Minneapolis near U.S. Bank Stadium won preliminary approval Tuesday at City Hall.
But it will be up to the Minnesota Vikings to persuade owners of parking lots in the zone to allow tailgating.
A team representative said the eight qualifying surface lots within the new zone could provide up to 1,000 spaces. But that’s likely to shrink as development further encroaches.
The actual number of vehicles that can be accommodated in the tailgating lots is likely to be far less because tailgate setups often sprawl across several spots. Actual demand is likely to be 600 to 700 spots, said Lester Bagley, Vikings executive vice president.
That’s far fewer spots than were available at the Metrodome. One fan thinks that won’t meet demand.
“There’s no way that can be enough,” said Scott Asplund of Plymouth, who nevertheless testified for the tailgating district.
“Tailgating is a huge part of the experience,” he said. “It’s part of the fabric of the day.”
If the full City Council approves the zone at its May 27 meeting, the Vikings organization will turn to lining up parking lot owners, with a third-party operator running the lots on game days. Lot owners also have the option to run their own tailgating lots or hire an operator.
The 2012 agreement for the stadium deal, signed by the state, city, football franchise and Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission, committed the franchise and city to work together to expand the tailgating zone.
But the revamped zone would be slightly smaller in area than the zone approved for tailgating around the former Metrodome, and a number of parking lots have been or will be lost to development.
“That’s not just a byproduct. That’s the goal,” said Council Member Jacob Frey, of the area’s rampant development.
The farthest parking spots in the tailgating zone would be about one-quarter mile away from the field. Neighborhood association input helped shape the zone and generally tried to keep tailgating lots away from residential buildings or church-affiliated institutions.