I only have one question in this whole stadium issue:
Zygi, what took you so long?
There were three things that struck me about the stadium unveiling yesterday in Arden Hills:
1) What a GREAT FREAKING PLAN!
2) Minneapolis is butt hurt, and that kind of makes me smile.
3) Bud Grant is STILL awesome, and I think if he asked me to, I would try and run through a wall for him.
The only problem I have with this is timing. This plan will need to be lobbied, cajoled, bribed, and threatened through the Legislature 24/7 for the next two weeks, and I am worried that there isn't enough time. I also think Minneapolis' sore ass might try and derail this thing, which it seems like is already happening.
But more on that after the jump.I know I came out with a piece ripping the Vikings for submitting a crappy plan awhileback, and in it I bitched about a lot of things, namely how unprepared they seemed. But this, I am on board with. I love this plan, I really do, and I've been supportive of the Arden Hills site from almost the minute it became an option. There's something almost mystical for me about one day being able to take my grandson (which I don't have yet, not even in the works) to this...Valhalla...in Ramsey County. I can show him the Vikings Hall of Fame, and tell him about guys like Grant and Marshall, and then we can grab a hot dog on our way over to the stadium and toss a football around. I really wanted an outdoor stadium, but this keeps the Vikings in Minnesota, and in this day and age, you can't really justify spending all that money for a place that can only be used 4 or 5 months of the year outside of football, so we live with it and rejoice in the fact that the Vikings will remain the MINNESOTA Vikings.
There is one other spectre out there that makes me feel uneasy, other than the time crunch the Vikings are in to get this thing passed before the Legislature adjourns, and that's the Minneapolis Mafia that will pull out all the stops to kill this bill and get the Vikings back downtown on the Metrodome site. Which is rich, when you consider that Minneapolis didn't seem to give two defecations in a bucket about where the Vikings played as little as a month ago.
So the Vikings pretty much said, go Fornicate Yourself. We want a stadium, Ramsey County wants it there, so we'll build it there.
And NOW, as Chris so aptly pointed out a few days ago...NOW Minneapolis is interested.
I really think that Minneapolis thought that because they are the 600 pound gorilla in Minnesota politics, that they would just get their way, because they almost always do, and if His Holiness R.T. Rybak said we will build a Retrodome, the Vikings and fans would get on one knee and kiss the ring.
Yeah, I have a bad knee and back. Ain't happening.
But Minneapolis won't give up without a fight, and they pretty much tried to put the Arden Hills fire out before it really caught yesterday. Rybak is REALLY pushing the Retrodome plan now. And really, just like I chastise Zygi for their foot dragging, where was all this motivation six months ago? Had you unveiled this back in December, I would have been on board.
Gov. Dayton is staying neutral, sort of. He threw up a caution flag about the state capping their contribution at $300 million, but he did caveat that by saying he liked either site at that price tag. Minneapolis was quck to point out the infrastructure costs will be WAYWAYWAYOMG!!!!11 over that $300 million price tag, but Ramsey County officials say not so fast.
The devil, as they say, is in the details, and I'm sure the final costs will move and be adjusted as the real number crucnhing starts to get done.
There's a lot at stake here, and Minneapolis, now that they know they've lost a lot of potential tax revenue in terms of jobs and gameday income, won't take it well and will pull out all the stops to get this thing spiked and force the Vikings back to the Metrodome site.
But you can help. I made three calls yesterday, to the Governor, Speaker, and Senate Majority Leader, telling them I support the Arden Hills site. The numbers are:
Dayton's office: 651-201-3400, toll free 800-657-3717
Speaker Zellers: 651-296-5502
Senate Leader Koch: 651.296.5981
If you're not sure who your state representative and senator are, shame on you. Get smart. Find out here, and then call:
Folks, we're in the home stretch. Our lungs are burning, the legs feel like rubber, our side aches, and it seems like we can't go another step. But we will. We will get this across the finish line, and we will rejoice.
SKOL MINNESOTA VIKINGS!
Today, tomorrow, forever.