Ted Mondale, the newly appointed chairman of the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission, said Friday that this is the year to reach a deal on a new stadium for the Minnesota Vikings that would also benefit the public in the way the Metrodome has.
Mondale, who was appointed to the position Friday by Gov. Mark Dayton, spoke to MPR's All Things Considered about the prospects for a stadium deal at the Legislature this year. He also talked about the Metrodome's roof repairs.
Mondale, the son of former Vice President Walter Mondale, said he and Dayton agree on the concept of a "people's stadium" that wouldn't be owned by the Vikings. It could provide space for other sports and activities, much like the Metrodome has done, he said.
Dayton has said that any public money that goes to build the stadium couldn't be diverted from education. Mondale said Dayton is more likely to support a bill that funds the stadium through user fees than through money coming out of the state's general fund.
And the public must benefit from whatever is built, he said.
"That means that the public would get more benefit out of the stadium than they put in," Mondale said.
He said Dayton isn't partial to any specific site for the stadium, but that reaching a deal is a priority.
"This is the year to do it," Mondale said, listing several factors.
The Vikings' lease for the Metrodome expires after the 2011 season, and the Metrodome's roof remains down after it collapsed in the aftermath of a snowstorm last month. Mondale said he hopes having a fresh group of legislators to work with at the Capitol may also help get something done.
Mondale said it would help if the stadium were covered, so that groups could use the facility throughout the year.
"It's something we need to be a competitive community and to have the kind of lifestyle we want to have in Minnesota," he said. "It's a long winter."
The Vikings have said they would pay one-third of the cost of an uncovered stadium.
Mondale would say only that the team needs to put in "a significant chunk of money" for the stadium. He said he expects an agreement will be reached that everyone can support.
(MPR's Tom Crann contributed to this report.)