So, it all comes down to this, or so it would appear. Vikings owner Zygi Wilf will meet with Governor Dayton and Minneapolis officials, to include mayor R.T. Rybak with the hopes of getting a deal in place for a new stadium deal on the Metrodome site.
The fact that Wilf is even sitting down and listening to the proposal is a positive step, but this isn't a done deal. Several things need to happen in order for the a bill to get passed, even if the Vikes agree to the Metrodome sit. But as near as I can tell, the Vikings three big issues are:
1) The Vikings have said any location other than Arden Hills would mean a 'significant' reduction of the team contribution of $425 million.
2) The Vikings are also concerned about the loss of $60-70 million in revenue by having to play at TCF Bank Stadium.
3) A lack of opportunity to develop the land around the stadium
But that's just the beginning. We'll get to more, after the jump.
Mayor Rybak has said that any bill for a Vikings stadium will include revenue streams to improve Target Center, but folks in the legislature think that might not fly. Rybak counters that although it may be difficult to pass the legislature with that addendum, it will be impossible to pass through the Minneapolis City Council without it.
Ah, the Minneapolis City Council and the city of Minneapolis. In Minneapolis, you need voter approval...a referendum...if the city pays more than $10 million on a sports facility.
Really? Just a sports facility? Only in Minneapolis, I suppose.
'But Ted', you say, 'the voter referendum is what killed the Arden Hills deal. HOW CAN THEY DO THIS?'
Well, for Minneapolis, they're looking to put language in the bill that would...gasp...bypass the referendum. They couldn't do it for Arden Hills, but they'll do it for Minneapolis? Of course they will.
Welcome to Minnesota politics, kids. This is what the wonks refer to as the 'making the sausage' part. Everybody likes the end product, but if anyone saw how sausage was made, we'd all be vegetarians.
Ted Mondale, the MSFC Chairman, is coming up with some plan that would work around that little thing they call a 'law' by making that $10 million technically the property of a new MSFC (it's new, it's improved...it slices, it dices, it juliens!!) and not Minneapolis money. Sooooooooo, Mondale's theory goes, if it's not the city's money, no referendum is needed.
Minneapolis disagrees. At least for right now.
BUT WAIT...THERE'S MORE!!
The Metrodome plan also calls for land acquisition, and I can only assume it will be for more parking and to get some places to tailgate. I hope.
But if Minneapolis sells public land, the CIty Council must approve it on a 9 vote supermajority, not a 7 vote simple majority.
Again, we're working around things we like to call 'laws' to make it pass. Or at least come up with a different interpretation of said law to claim legality. Let's go with the latter.
Here's how this will work, from this here story in the Strib:
To overcome the nine-vote requirement, Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission attorneys are citing a state law that overrides local charters when a public body sells land to another public entity.
The city of Minneapolis? Again, they disagree.
This is going to end in one of two ways: coming to an agreement to get past these obstacles and get a bill passed so the Vikings can stay in Minnesota....
...More lawsuits than a highway pileup. And while everyone is bitching at everyone else in court, Zygi could very well pull up stakes and say 'Deuces'.
I'm kind of pissed that folks in the Capitol are bending over backward to get a less than optimal plan approved and aren't lifting a finger for the Arden Hills site, but again, I refer you to the 'making sausage' analogy.
I think most of us preferred the Arden Hills site, but there wasn't political support for that, and by most accounts, it wasn't going to pass. Granted, no one really did anything to help get it passed, but as Kelly Campbell famously once said, 'it is what it is'.
We all want the Vikes to stay in Minnesota, and if this is the best plan to make that happen, then I'm on board.
Good luck to everyone involved today, and I hope they can get something worked out. We'll know sometime this afternoon.