A recent editorial gave strong support for placing a new Vikings stadium in Arden Hills. I think this is a mistake. If the public is to invest in a stadium I think it only makes sense if such an investment maximizes all the benefits that can be realized.
The Arden Hills site will cost in excess of $1 billion. Based upon the proposals for the two sites inside Minneapolis, the public can get far more for its same investment, particularly with the current Dome site. In fact, for less than $1 billion total cost Minnesota can get a new Vikings stadium and can also renovate the Target Center. Who wouldn’t want to get more for their money?
The biggest factor playing in favor of the Arden Hills site is the possibility of tailgating. However, there is lots of surface parking surrounding the Dome stadium which has served tailgaters for the entire time the Vikings have played in the Dome. In addition, there is a lot of land around the Dome site that could be redeveloped to allow for even more surface parking.
The Dome is currently used for many other events and the area is well suited to that use. The Arden Hills site would be built primarily with the Vikings in mind and would compete for other events. Why build more capacity that will make it even more difficult for the public to yield the financial benefits that will help support all these public facilities.
There is also the huge question about the mitigation of the pollution on the Arden Hills site. I am aware of no study that has looked into the depth of that problem. Do we want to put the public at even more risk associated with this problem? How many times in the past has the public committed to a site only to later find that there is much more extensive investment required because of previously unknown pollution clean-up.
Downtown Minneapolis is the economic engine for this region benefitting all of the surrounding area. It makes the most sense to invest the public’s money in the wisest way possible by promoting the ongoing economic vitality of Minneapolis by redeveloping the current Vikings site and upgrading the Target Center all for less money than would be spent on the Arden Hills site. — Mark Anderson, Ramsey