Shoreview council member: Build stadium in Mpls. or St. Paul and let Vikings pay

  • Article by: ROCHELLE OLSON , Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 23, 2011 - 11:16 AM

Blake Huffman has started an online petition to prevent a Minnesota Vikings stadium from being built in neighboring Arden Hills.

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The proposed Vikings stadium site at Arden Hills.

A Shoreview City Council member has started an online petition to prevent a Minnesota Vikings stadium from being built in neighboring Arden Hills.

Council Member Blake Huffman's petition notes that he has been a Vikings fan since the days of quarterbacks Fran Tarkenton and Tommy Kramer, but he's concerned about the lack of public input on discussions for the proposed $1 billion stadium at a former munitions site at the junction of Interstate 35W and Hwy. 10.

"Let's just think about this before we say 'yes.'" Huffman said. "I'm just so frustrated that there's been zero public input."

Huffman said he's aiming for 1,000 signatures and would present the result to the Ramsey County commissioners.

The stadium proposal includes a $350 million contribution from Ramsey County residents through a half-cent sales tax increase. The state would be expected to pay $300 million, and the Vikings would contribute $407 million.

The team and the state remain in closed-door negotiations. The Vikings want the Legislature to approve a stadium package in a special session of the Legislature, but so far no bill has been introduced. Gov. Mark Dayton is expected to call legislators back to the Capitol when and if they reach a budget resolution.

Huffman called the "partnership" among the Vikings, the state and Ramsey County "extremely one-sided." Given the tough economic times with high unemployment, gas approaching $4 per gallon and sinking housing prices, "citizens overwhelmingly are very reluctant to spend money on such a luxury item as a stadium," the petition says.

His other concerns include traffic, noise, crime and the environment. The petition encourages the stadium to be built in downtown Minneapolis or St. Paul with the team and the users paying the costs.

The petition notes that no official votes have been taken so far and only one public meeting has been held. "The biggest development in several generations is certainly worthy of a series of public conversations before decisions are made," Huffman's petition said.

He posted the petition Friday and had 86 signatures as of Wednesday afternoon.

Rochelle Olson • 651-735-9749 Twitter: @rochelleolson

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