Reporter Rochelle Olson updates you on the construction of the new Minnesota Vikings stadium in downtown Minneapolis.

Vikings reportedly increasing stadium contribution Friday

Posted by: Rochelle Olson Updated: October 9, 2014 - 5:03 PM

The Minnesota Vikings supposedly are going to announce plans Friday to pay for more stuff at the new $1 billion "People's" stadium, but nobody was willing to say what it was Thursday.

The Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority's (MSFA) agenda for Friday said the body will "approve project budget amendments" at the regularly scheduled meeting. The chair of the MSFA is Michele Kelm-Helgen, the governor's appointee to the board.

 Asked for detail about the agenda, MSFA spokeswoman Jenn Hathaway said the item involves "additional items the team is funding." When asked what those are and what they cost, she said she didn't know what the items are.

The Vikings provided no additional information.

Spokesman Jeff Anderson gave a 9-word answer: "We are scheduled to talk about it tomorrow. Thanks." 

For a public body, the MSFA provides extremely sparse agendas.

Most governmental bodies provide more explanation, sometimes pages and pages of documents. That's in contrast to the MSFA agenda line of four words to explain a price increase.

The point of putting out an agenda is to give the public notice and information about what will be discussed at a meeting involving a public body making decisions about public money. Roughly half the cost of the $1 billion new stadium is being covered by the public.

In contrast, the Minnesota Ballpark Authority that runs Target Field, makes an effort to provide a full explanation of agenda items at least two days in advance of a meeting.

Similarly, Minneapolis, St. Paul, Ramsey and Hennepin counties hyperlink to documents on their online agendas.

State law requires supporting documentation available when public bodies vote.

Coalition gathering strength to oppose Redskins at Gophers' stadium

Posted by: Rochelle Olson Updated: August 28, 2014 - 12:42 PM

The Washington Redskins shouldn't be allowed to use their offensive team name while playing on the Minnesota Vikings on the University of Minnesota campus Nov. 2, according to a coalition vowing a strong fight against the use of the word or mascot.

Led by prominent American Indian leaders, a group stood outside TCF Bank Stadium on Thursday morning to call on the university to ban the team's name. The group also said it is considering a lawsuit because it considers the use of the name in a public facility to be illegal.

The group says the word Redskins is highly offensive, dating back to how blood would run down an Indian's body after he had been scalped.

David Glass says the Indian group wants the word banned at the stadium. It also wants fans to be barred from wearing "any kind of denigrating face paint" or head wear. The group doesn't want Redskins memorabilia to be sold in the park or have the team name used by announcers during the game.

The Vikings are playing at the stadium for two seasons while their new $1 billion facility is built on the site of the former Metrodome.

The Redskins come to town Nov. 2. The protesters say they will have thousands at the game objecting to the use of the name and they want to be able to roam freely on the stadium grounds not be "penned up" in a confined area.

Glass said the group is hoping their news conference would spur the university to take action to ban the word.

Spike Moss, a longtime Minneapolis activist, said the term is akin to having a football team called the "Little Black Sambos" or the n-word.

Audubon Society takes bird-glass campaign to Gov. Dayton

Posted by: Rochelle Olson under Vikings Updated: August 26, 2014 - 11:36 AM

Petitions and pictures of dead birds will be dropped at Gov. Mark Dayton's front desk this morning.

The Audubon Society is delivering more than 76,000 signatures on a petition asking the governor to get safer glass on the new $1 billion Minnesota Vikings stadium. (The society didn't say where the signatures came from.)

Audubon has been squawking about the potential for birds crashing into the tall glass building while migrating on the nearby Mississippi River corridor.

The society planned a demonstration and call-in campaign to try to compel the governor to insist on bird-safe glass. The Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority (MSFA) previously agreed to work with Audubon on the lighting of the structure at night to help prevent bird-building crashes.

The MSFA and the Vikings have said the fritted glass would cost $1 million and would destroy the airy design and open feel of the building's interior.

The Audubon Society is targeting Dayton because it says he "led the effort to secure $498 million in public money for the construction project" and called it the "people's stadium."

MSFA spokeswoman Jenn Hathaway said the glass already has been ordered.

Vikings stadium tour: Next best thing to being there

Posted by: Rochelle Olson Updated: August 20, 2014 - 3:26 PM

The Minnesota Vikings posted this video providing an "inside look" at progress on the new $1 billion Minnesota Multipurpose Stadium.

Owners Mark and Zygi Wilf are in the video wearing special purple hard hats with the Vikings' logo. The two can be heard saying, "wow" as their heads swivel to look at "duct work," steel and concrete.

The brief video is a peek at the construction progress from a ground-level view - a place most of won't set foot at least until the building opens in 2016.

If you ask me - and who wouldn't - the star of the video is Dave Mansell, the guy literally on the ground overseeing construction for Mortenson. Mansell provides the best video commentary, cracking wise, talking about the weight of various stadium pieces, reminding the Wilfs that football was being played on the site seven months ago.

The recording is as close to a guided tour of the site that most of us will ever get and it's sort of  fun, especially for a reporter who enjoys colorful characters - and Mansell qualifies. (He also oversaw construction of Target Field)

Have a look:

Fire trucks at stadium site doing routine review

Posted by: Rochelle Olson Updated: August 19, 2014 - 11:27 AM

No cause for alarm despite all the fire trucks today on the site of the new Minnesota Multipurpose Stadium.

A downtown commuter checked in after seeing a phalanx of red fire equipment on the site of the $1 billion project.

Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority spokeswoman Jenn Hathaway said the visit from fire fighters was a routine check-in for the crews to get updated on the lawout of the ever-progressing site.

Even the casual observer would notice the significant changes on the site. A structure is rising from the pit and a massive crawler crane already has begun lifting pieces of steel into place for the roof.

The massive structure will be double the size of the Metrodome, which was torn down for replacement last winter. The new stadium is expected to open for the 2016 NFL season.

Construction crews track the hot spots, where fire is used, on the facility carefully. Permits are required and workers mark on a board when they start the fire and check out when it's extinguished so managers can see what's happening at a glance from the main office.

Fire crews were checking out the site Tuesday just to get a handle of the new layout of the project. Hathaway said it's part of the construction process.

The project is the largest ever in the city of Minneapolis.

The Vikings are playing at the University of Minnesota's TCF Bank Stadium until their new digs are ready.


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