Vikings' new stadium bid could need a Hail Mary
It’s not fourth down, but it’s fair to call it third-and-long already when it comes to the stadium bill that was introduced Monday in the Minnesota Capitol.
Numerous questions remain for a bill designed to create a $300 million contribution from the state to a stadium project for the Minnesota Vikings. The biggest question, of course, is where the venue would be located. But other big questions remain and a report in the Minneapolis Star Tribune paints a rather bleak picture. A bill proposed last year was torn apart in a matter of days.
The bill will not gets its first hearing until April 26, leaving less than a month before the session ends. Tops on lawmakers’ to-do lists is managing a $5 billion budget deficit. A new home for the Vikings is not as much of a priority.
As the report indicates, when funding for Target Field – the new home of the Minnesota Twins – was pushed through in 2006, it took time and there were crucial and narrow votes. The Twins knew where they were going to put their ballpark too.
"We're in discussions to try to make those things happen," Lester Bagley, the Vikings' vice president for public affairs and stadium development, told the Star Tribune.
The Vikings would like to have a local government partner and site picked before the legislative sessions concludes May 23. Not having their part of the plan completely fleshed out doesn’t make you feel too sympathetic for the Vikings, who have been clamoring for a new stadium for years. The team’s lease at the Metrodome expires after this coming season.
"I think time is clearly running out," Rep. Frank Hornstein, an opponent of the bill, said. “My concern is that there will be an effort very late to try to push it through."
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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune