Stadium debate resumes

by T.W. Budig
ECM Capitol reporter
Metropolitan Facilities Sports Commission (MFSC) Chairman Ted Mondale in a Capitol appearance Jan. 26 said his boss, Gov. Mark Dayton, wants legislative action on a Vikings stadium this session.

“This is the first time in at least eight years we’ve got a governor who says, ‘I want to do it,’” said Mondale of finding a stadium solution, speaking with reporters after appearing before a Senate committee.

“The Dome is down, the (Vikings) lease is up,” said Mondale.

The governor wants the Minnesota Legislature to aggressively pursue a Vikings’ stadium bill — he doesn’t want a bill to trickle in late session, Mondale explained.

“If they (the Republican-controlled Legislature) can’t move a bill, he (Dayton) doesn’t want to spend the time,” said Mondale.

Mondale indicated the Dayton administration would not offer its own stadium bill.

The governor is “site agnostic” on the location of a future Vikings stadium, Mondale explained, and he’s open to different revenue sources for helping to finance one.

But the governor does emphasize the use of user fees, and expects the benefits derived from the new stadium to exceed the public money sunk into it, he explained.

Indeed, Dayton looks at the new stadium as a “People’s Stadium” rather than “Vikings Stadium,” Mondale said.

At present, the MFSC is working to get the roof-challenged Metrodome ready for the upcoming Vikings football season, he said.

The future of the 29-year-old Metrodome was a main topic Mondale and MFSC Executive Director William Lester discussed with the Senate local government and elections committee.

The MFSC officials told the committee, chaired by Sen. Ray Vandeveer, R-Forest Lake, that they should know within the next couple of weeks what direction to take with the blizzard-torn Metrodome roof.

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