On the heels of the news released Tuesday about the Ramsey County Council voting down a voter-referendum that would require the citizens of Ramsey County to vote on a proposed increase on sales tax in order to help fund a new stadium for the Vikings (that would epically fail), the Associated Press has reported that only two major concerns were raised in the Metropolitan Council meeting that took place on Wednesday. This is a huge relief for Vikings fans, as some considered the meeting today (as well as yesterday's meeting) as a "make or break" point along the process of a new potential stadium.
According to the post-meeting report, the following issues were the only "major" concerns that the Council had a problem with when discussing the Arden Hills stadium plans (per Kevin Seifert, ESPN NFC North Blogger):
1. That at least $39 million and up to $85 million of the $1.1 billion project (including road improvements) is unaccounted for.
2. The extent of soil contamination could lead to a one- or two-year delay in opening the stadium, pushing that even to 2016 or 2017, leading to about $50 million in cost increases for every year of the delay.
To be honest, when I first opened the link tabbed in Kevin Seifert's article and saw "critical stadium report" I cringed up and almost closed the window right then and there. However, after reading both articles and doing a bit of further research, I really, TRULY believe that this is one more step in the right direction for the Minnesota Vikings' hopes for a new stadium.
Let's start with the first issue, which states that $39 million and up to $85 million of the expensive stadium project would be unaccounted for. Seriously? $85 million? Three months ago, the Minnesota Vikings were looking at a gap of about $350 million dollars that were unaccounted for in the stadium plans; to see that this number has been reduced down to $85 million is more of a relief than a concern, in my opinion.
As for the second issue, I don't really see soil contamination being a huge threat to any future stadium. There are millions upon millions of ways that the Vikings could use the stadium as an opportunity for jobs, and this could be one more. The only potential issue that this provides is the monetary one. But, given the fact that it's only an additional $50 million dollars per year extended, you'd have to figure that the men upstairs would be able to part ways with an extra $100 million dollars over the course of two years. On another note, think about the mass amount of jobs that could be created in a construction field scenario alone. On top of that, soil and general maintenance of the grounds could be another HUGE pool for jobs. With such an enormous possibility for created jobs, on top of the revenue that an NFL stadium ALREADY provides for an economy, this could surely be a huge boost for Minnesota on multi-faceted levels.
This is my personal hats-off to the Wilfs and Lester Bagley, as there has obviously been some serious work done on the project since the last time we heard of anything a couple of months back. It really seems to me that the more this past offseason has progressed, the more strongly I feel that the Wilfs and their crew of personnel are committed to the franchise staying in Minnesota, be it the re-signing of AP and Greenway, or now, with the stadium deal progressions. In my opinion, this is great news for all Vikings fans, and hopefully this isn't the last of the good news we hear about a new stadium. I have a feeling it won't be.
What are your thoughts?