Coleman Protests Target Center Funding in Stadium Plan

St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman says a proposal for a Minneapolis Vikings stadium that involves funding for Target Center renovations is "unbalanced" and "inequitable."

St. Paul leaders are voicing their concerns over a proposed Vikings stadium proposal that would include $150 million to renovate Target Center in downtown Minneapolis-stating that the plan is unfair to St. Paul and the rest of the region.

Target Center renovations were included in Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak's pitch for a new Vikings stadium in downtown Minneapolis. The funding plan involves redirecting taxes that currently go to the Minneapolis Convention Center. Rybak's plan would also establish a new “Minnesota Stadium Authority,” which would oversee the Target Center and a new Vikings stadium.

St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman and City Council President Kathy Lantry on Tuesday met with Governor Mark Dayton to relay their concerns about the Minneapolis plan.

“Tying the Vikings stadium to a Target Center renovation is unbalanced, inequitable, and against the best interest of the City of St. Paul, the region, and the State of Minnesota,” Coleman said in a statement.

In May, Coleman floated a large-scale funding plan that differed significantly from those proposed by Ramsey County and Minneapolis. That plan involves keeping the Vikings in Minneapolis, moving the state's professional basketball teams to the Xcel Energy Center, and building a new St. Paul Saints stadium. Coleman has described his plan as more advantageous to the region, rather than benefitting one city at the expense of another.

St. Paul claims that the Twin Cities is already at a “competitive disadvantage,” as it is the smallest market in the United States to have competing arenas-the Xcel Energy Center and the Target Center.

Jeff Pellegrom, chief financial officer for the Minnesota Wild, said in a statement that “any state investments of this nature must be thoughtful and equitable, or else the state is in essence picking winners and losers.” The Minnesota Wild plays at the Xcel Energy Center.

According to several media reports, Rybak quickly fired back at Coleman's recent remarks, stating: “I don't think building a new baseball stadium in St. Paul hurts Minneapolis, and I don't think renovating an existing facility in Minneapolis hurts St. Paul.”

Coleman said that St. Paul leaders will discuss possible solutions with Dayton and state lawmakers in the coming weeks.

Meanwhile, state officials, who have not yet reached a decision on the stadium site, are discussing ways to cover the state's portion of funding. Those officials are now confident that electronic pulltabs in bars and restaurants could generate $72 million a year, according to a report by the Star Tribune. A plan to build the stadium at the Metrodome site would require about $340 million from the state, while the Arden Hills proposal could require a state contribution of as much as $395 million.

To learn more about the electronic pulltabs funding plan-which is reportedly favored by Dayton and Senator Julie Rosen, the chief Senate stadium legislation author-read the Minneapolis newspaper's coverage here.