According to the fine folks at SavetheVikes.org, Wednesday, July 13, 2011 from 6:30 to 8:30 pm there will be a constituent listening session with Representative Kate Knuth (DFL-New Brighton). This event will give Ramsey County residents a chance to discuss the Minnesota government shutdown and the potential impact that a Vikings stadium at the Arden Hills TCAAP site could have on the surrounding community.
Considering the current government shutdown in Minnesota, the timing for talk about a new Viking stadium is not ideal. However, to those of us who have been following this issue over the years, what's new?
Join me after the jump for why we're not surprised.
There's seemingly always a new and compelling reason why the moon and stars aren't in the proper alignment for the Vikings to campaign for a stadium. Since the Wilfs purchased the team from Red McCombs back in 2005 they have been trying to get a deal worked out for a new stadium. Initially, the Wilfs stated that they were willing to be patient because they were new to the area and the Twins had the prior claim. Now, six years later, the Minnesota Twins tagging the bases at beautiful Target Field and the Minnesota Gophers football team is fighting for redemption at TCF Stadium, so unless the St. Paul Saints jump the queue, the Minnesota Vikings would seem to be the next Minnesota team on the list for new digs. If a stadium deal isn't in place soon, the Wilfs' six years of patience may come to an end.
Minnesota's economic climate has been a sticking point in media coverage of the Vikings' stadium quest. Since the team unveiled their proposal to partner with Ramsey County and develop the TCAAP site (Minnesota's largest Super Fund site), it seems that anti-stadium sentiment has increased. I had mistakenly thought that presenting a proposal that specifically addressed location and funding would help bolster support-boy was I wrong. Local television and newspapers are littered with stories about how opposed people are to the stadium.
My favorite story, so far, is the St. Paul City Council's unanimous vote against the Vikings/Ramsey County partnership--a vote that is only symbolic. You, me, and your pet schnauzer can make meaningless, symbolic votes all day long, but the difference is that when the St. Paul City Council takes an empty stand it leads on the local evening news. This kind of coverage has a way of making the City Council's opposition, and opposition from the public, look more widespread and significant than it is.
In particular, all this local opposition that there is supposed to be toward the stadium proposal makes me squint and scratch my head. I live in Ramsey County and I always wonder where they find these violent, outspoken opponents to the proposed Vikings stadium because I can't say that I've seen them. In my neighborhood I see Vikings mailboxes, people wearing their Vikings gear during an off-season with a lockout (seriously, plenty of people still rockin' their Culpepper jerseys) , and then there is that person who shops at the same Cub Foods that I go to. This individual has two Vikings flags and several Vikings decals on his or her truck. I love that truck, it reminds me of a parade float.
There are plenty of other examples of visible Vikings fans in Ramsey County and I think we deserve some attention too. If you live in Ramsey County and want to show support for the Vikings stadium proposal, please attend this meeting.
SavetheVikes.org is predicting a tense mood at the "listening session" which sounds like a diplomatic way of saying there's a good chance of loud, anti-stadium diatribes. Let's prepare to be patient and polite. It won't help the stadium conversation if Vikings fans act like dicks.
Community Listening Session with Rep. Kate Knuth (DFL-New Brighton)
6:30-8:30 pm, Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Ramsey County Public Works, Marsden Room
1425 Paul Kirkwold Drive
Arden Hills, Minnesota 55112
Let me cap all this off with a vaguely appropriate and completely indulgent musical selection. Oh, and if you are unsure what to wear to this meeting, I suggest something purple.