Dayton: Metrodome Site Is Only Near-Term Stadium Option

The governor told the owners of the Minnesota Vikings that the Metrodome site is the only option for a new stadium, if a stadium bill is to gain approval from the Legislature this year.

Governor Mark Dayton on Monday reportedly told the owners of the Minnesota Vikings that the Metrodome site in Minneapolis is the only near-term option for building a new stadium-and the team is frustrated with that news.

The governor told Zygi Wilf that if the team wants a stadium bill is to gain approval from the Legislature this year, the Metrodome site is the only workable option, according to a report by the Star Tribune.

Dayton recently indicated that he was leaning toward the Linden Avenue location near the Basilica of St. Mary in downtown Minneapolis.

“We were told by the governor's office that Linden Avenue is not workable at least in the short term,” said Vikings Vice President Lester Bagley, according to the Star Tribune. “All I can tell you is that our ownership is extremely frustrated with the situation.”

Minneapolis City Council member Meg Tuthill told the Minneapolis newspaper that she is opposed to using the Linden Avenue site, calling it “totally unacceptable” because of its potential harm to the nearby Basilica and the need to relocate businesses. (The Basilica's leaders have spoken out against the stadium proposal, and companies like Wanner Engineering, Inc., have reportedly said that the plan would require them to relocate and disrupt their businesses.)

Reverend John Bauer, pastor of The Basilica of Saint Mary, said the following in a Tuesday statement: “We are pleased to hear that Governor Dayton has taken the Linden Avenue site off the table as a potential location for a new Vikings stadium. We are very grateful for his leadership on this challenging issue. It ensures that we will be able to continue to minister to our large congregation, provide services to those most in need, and protect this historic landmark.”

Katharine Tinucci, a spokeswoman for Dayton, told the Pioneer Press that the governor is “only looking at negotiating the Metrodome now.”

The Vikings have said they prefer a plan to build a $1.1 billion stadium in Arden Hills, but Dayton has said that lawmakers' reluctance to approve a countywide food and beverage tax without a voter referendum is a major obstacle.

Ramsey County Commissioner Tony Bennett told the Pioneer Press that he was more than disappointed upon hearing about Dayton's recent message to the team: “We must be second-class citizens on our side of the river.”

The team, meanwhile, has pointed out that revamping the Metrodome site would require moving the team to play at the University of Minnesota's TCF Bank Stadium for three years, which could add about $67 million to the project's overall costs.