'Global' stadium plan falls flat

  • Article by: MIKE KASZUBA , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 15, 2011 - 12:25 AM

A key legislator called the Timberwolves' proposal for a regional sports authority that would issue bonds for multiple new stadiums "overcomplicated."

Two legislators playing key roles in a public subsidy plan for a new Minnesota Vikings stadium were cool Monday to a "global solution" that would include stadium plans for other professional sports teams in Minnesota.

The plan, being advocated by the Minnesota Timberwolves team, which plays in Minneapolis' Target Center, would create a regional sports authority and then issue bonds through the Metropolitan Council to raise $1.173 billion. The money would fund not only a new Vikings stadium, but also renovate Target Center, build a new St. Paul Saints ballpark and address the remaining debt on the Xcel Center in St. Paul, the home of the Minnesota Wild.

Although a Timberwolves official reportedly acknowledged that there was resistance to the plan, the team suggested that funding for the proposal could come from a one-fifth cent metrowide sales tax, state tobacco settlement funds, a new casino in downtown Minneapolis and a Vikings lottery game.

"That's not something I'm involved with," said Rep. Morrie Lanning, R-Moorhead, who is working on a proposal for a new Vikings stadium. 

Lanning said he met with Glen Taylor, the Timberwolves owner, but said they did not discuss a specific proposal.

"I'm focused on what I'm working on," he said. Lanning has not released details of his Vikings proposal, but said there was a "possibility" the plan could be released this week.

Sen. Julie Rosen, R-Fairmont, a likely Senate author for a new Vikings stadium plan, said she too had talked to Taylor. She agreed that other teams were looking at Vikings stadium legislation as "perhaps a good vehicle" for their stadium needs.

"[But] it gets pretty heavy, doesn't it?" she added.

"It does get a little overcomplicated. You have to be cognizant [that] there are a lot of needs out there, but I think we're focused really on a [Vikings] stadium.

"It doesn't mean that the bill may not have a little more in it that could take care of some kind of global issue," Rosen added.

Mike Kaszuba • 651-222-1673

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