According to a report in the Duluth News Tribune today, attendance in the port city was sparse for a public meeting about the new $1 billion Vikings. The same was true last month for a similar meeting in Minneapolis.
Apparently one area of concern among those who attended the session was whether season-ticket holders will be shut out while the Vikings play two seasons at TCF Bank stadium at the University of Minnesota while the new stadium is being built. (The completion date is July 2016.)
Said Lester Bagley, spokesman for the Vikings: “We are putting up 2,000 temporary seats in the west end zone. We will match up the seats with the number of ticketholders, so everyone will have a seat.”
Minnesota Management and Budget said Friday it expects to issue the bonds to help pay for the $1 billion Vikings stadium on Monday.
That's two weeks later than originally planned. All told, the state is expected to issue $768 million in bonds.
But a last-minute legal challenge by three Minneapolis residents challenging the way public funds are being used to fund the stadium caused the delay.
The Minnesota Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed the challenge, and now the bond sale is on.
Actual construction work never stopped during the two-week period of uncertainty. The Metrodome's roof was deflated last Saturday, and excavators have been going to town on the Dome's eastern side. It's really beginning to look like a true construction site.
A July 2016 opening is projected for the new stadium.
After the Metrodome's roof was successfully deflated Saturday, workers began demolishing parts of the lower part of the Dome this week, including a loading dock, the Vikings Lounge and the area near Gate B.
Yesterday, we spotted a few brave souls on the rim of the roof. But today, officials from the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority said work is continuing in frigid weather, but has slowed a bit.
If machine operators can work, they will be working from the safety of their heated rigs, the Authority said, noting some interior work is being done, weather permitting.
We wrote here about the Supreme Court ruling that will permit the sale of $468 million in state bonds to move forward for the new Vikings stadium.
Several people have asked if Associate Justice Alan Page took part in the high court's deliberations. The answer is: He did not.
At the end of the ruling, issued late Tuesday, it was noted that Page "took no part in the consideration or decision" of the case.
Page played for the Vikings from 1967 to 1978, and was part of the team's famed defensive line, the Purple People Eaters. A Hall of Famer, he finished his NFL career with the Chicago Bears.
The Metrodome’s roof deflated within 35 minutes Saturday morning, despite uncertainty about wind and snowy weather conditions.
Officials from the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority opened the relief vents to begin the deflation at 7:15 a.m. — a move that permitted the Dome’s 10 acres of Teflon-coated fiberglass fabric to slowly deflate.
The deflation will make way for construction of a new $1 billion Vikings stadium, which will be located roughly where the Dome stands in downtown Minneapolis.
The snow-laden roof silently deflated in the middle of fairly heavy flurries, sagging first in the middle. While there were few people out and about at the early hours, those who were walking by the Dome didn’t seem to notice the deflation occurring.
“Really? That’s crazy,” said Jon Silveira, a Minneapolis resident who was heading to his job at Sea Change at the Guthrie Theater. “I didn’t notice it, I’m too busy trying to get to work.”
When asked if he was sad to see the Dome go, he replied, “No, but I’d rather not pay for the new one.”
Construction has already begun with the excavation of a giant crater on the eastern stretch of the property to make way for the new structure’s pilings. The Vikings played their final game in the Dome on Dec. 29, so stadium officials need to deflate the roof to prepare for the 31-year-old structure’s demolition piece by piece, beginning next week.
The Dome’s roof fabric will be recycled by St. Paul-based excavator Frattalone Companies, which will cut it up and use it for future construction projects. Already the turf and most of the bright-blue seats have been removed, leaving a kind of concrete shell inside the stadium.
Officials were worried that winds higher than 5 miles per hour could hamper the deflation. While this was the fifth time the Dome’s roof collapsed this is the first time it was deflated intentionally. On four prior occasions, the roof collapsed due to extreme weather conditions, including the Dec. 11, 2010 incident where excessive snow caused the roof to cave in.