Taking advantage of the stalled plans to build a new Minnesota Vikings stadium in Minneapolis, the proposal to instead build the project in Ramsey County’s Arden Hills was dusted off late Wednesday.
A group of DFL and Republican legislators unveiled what would be the fourth funding proposal for an Arden Hills stadium – this time calling for a suburban Ramsey County food and beverage tax that would be subject to a voter referendum in November.
“We’re still alive. We’re still around,” said Ramsey County Board Chair Rafael Ortega.
Coming on a day when no Vikings stadium proposal seemed to have traction at the state Capitol, the Arden Hills announcement was the latest plan as legislators and stadium supporters rushed forward with a variety of ideas in hopes that one of them would suddenly gain support.
A spokesman for Gov. Mark Dayton meanwhile said Wednesday that the governor had a "sobering conversation" with National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell on the status of a public subsidy package for a new Vikings stadium, and that Dayton would talk again with NFL officials on Thursday.
The Vikings had last year agreed with Ramsey County to build a $1.1 billion stadium at a former ammunition plan in Arden Hills, but agreed to switch to Minneapolis when Dayton said that the only way to get a stadium public subsidy package passed at the Legislature this spring would be to build the project in the state’s largest city.
Now, with the Minneapolis stadium plan in limbo, some legislators said Wednesday said they want a revised version of the Arden Hills project back in play and said there was still time before the Legislature adjourns to make it happen.
Ortega said the referendum idea – which is a new feature of the plan – could also pass. “It could be close, [but] we feel we could win a referendum in Ramsey County,” he said Wednesday.