By Rochelle Olson
Minnesota Vikings owner Zygi Wilf told Gov. Mark Dayton in a Friday telephone call that “the time is now” for a new football stadium in Arden Hills, according to team Vice President Lester Bagley.
Dayton was noncommittal about his intentions regarding a stadium in the special session, although the governor also met Friday with Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission Chairman Ted Mondale. Mondale declined to comment on the conversation.
The governor’s office didn’t respond to requests for comment. Bagley said Wilf came away from the conversation with the sense “the governor wants to solve the issue.”
Bagley said the team is “still working on this special session, we’re trying to see what’s possible.” Although a deal is not complete, Bagley said an agreement could be reached in two hours and meetings are possible over the weekend.
The most recent public plan called for a $1 billion stadium on a former munitions site in Arden Hills at the connection of 35W and Highway 10. The Vikings would pay $407 million. Another $350 million would come from a half-cent sales-tax increase in Ramsey County and $300 million from the state. Bagley, however, has said recent discussions have involved reducing the size and cost of the stadium.
Mayor Chris Coleman and the St. Paul City Council have announced their opposition to the proposal, saying it places an unfair burden on Ramsey County taxpayers.
Rep. Alice Hausman, DFL-St. Paul, spent most of Friday trying to work out the bonding bill details and said no one had mentioned the Vikings stadium. She doesn’t think it will be brought up in an already-complicated special session next week. “I think there is enough work to do just to get the basics of this (budget) deal together,” she said.
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