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Is $300M too much for state to invest in stadium?

That would be the state’s share for a new $1B home for the Vikings

May 12, 2011
By Per Peterson , Marshall Independent

District 22 State Sen. Doug Magnus publicly threw his support behind a push for a new stadium for the Vikings in early April - as long as the team had a plan in place. That plan, or at least updated version of a previous one, was unveiled Tuesday when the Vikings and Ramsey County announced they had come to an agreement on a $1.1 billion retractable-roof stadium in Arden Hills - a 10-mile drive from Minneapolis. The Vikings and Ramsey County both think they scored a touchdown with the plan; now it's on to the extra point - gaining approval from the state Legislature. And Magnus, R-Slayton, can't say one way or the other if the support needed at the Capitol to put up $300 million for the stadium will be there.

"Is $300 million too much? I don't know," he said. "I guess we need to look at this in the sense that it's an indoor stadium and we need to figure out how to have other folks who use it help contribute to it. It's a benefit to the entire state to have an indoor stadium. Ramsey County will have to cough up a lot of money also, but they're saying they can do it."

The Vikings and Ramsey County proposed a stadium at the site of a former Army ammunition plant in the suburban city of Arden Hills. The price tag for the stadium would be an estimated $884 million stadium, with an additional $173 million for onsite infrastructure, parking and environmental cleanup. The stadium would open in 2015.

The Vikings would pay $407 million of construction costs, or 39 percent, while Ramsey County would pay $350 million, which is 33 percent. That would leave $300 million left for the state to pick up. Gov. Mark Dayton has said he will not support a plan that puts the state on the hook for anything more than $300 million.

"Everyone's just trying to figure things out now," Magnus said. "The governor has been engaged, he wants a stadium, he's been working on this. I've talked to him a couple of times and he's interested in it, so that helps a lot. But a lot of things have to fall into place before we end the session."

Magnus thinks Ramsey County beat out Minneapolis' proposal as the site of a future stadium because of its "full-court press" effort. But building a stadium from scratch, he said, is the more expensive option. Officials had said some of the current infrastructure of the Dome site would've been able to be used for the new stadium, thus reducing costs. But Magnus has said in the past he didn't think the Dome site would come into play when the final decision on where to build was made. And building on another site means the Dome can be used by other groups in the future.

"You're looking at a lot of entities that can use an indoor facility like that more than 200 days a year," he said. "We need that facility."

District 20 Sen. Gary Kubly, D-Granite Falls, said $300 million seems like "a lot of money to me" and said he would have a hard time voting for any bill if general fund money was used.

"I don't know if it would go or not," Kubly said. "The people from my district are split just about even between those who support it and those who don't."



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