Gov. Dayton sets deadline to act on stadium proposal

Arden Hills stadium
A rendering of a proposed stadium for the Minnesota Vikings in Arden Hills. The team and Ramsey County announced a deal Tuesday to finance and build the stadium.
Courtesy of the Minnesota Vikings

Gov. Mark Dayton on Monday set a Nov. 23 deadline for the Legislature to act on a Vikings stadium plan, but the governor has not yet endorsed a specific proposal.

Dayton today met with legislative leaders and officials from the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission. The Vikings have agreed on a plan with Ramsey County that would build a $1.1 billion dollar stadium at the site of a former Army ammunition plant in Arden Hills.

The governor said he will call a special session on Nov. 21 if there is an agreement in place that legislators can pass, but still has questions to be answered regarding the Arden Hills plan.

Republican legislative leaders said they won't support any stadium bill that raises state taxes. They also want Dayton to guarantee that some Democrats vote for a stadium before they put up any Republican votes.

The Vikings believe the last piece to put in place is the state's contribution to the stadium cost. A new stadium could open by 2015 if the issue is resolved this fall, said Lester Bagley, Vikings vice president.

Dayton said earlier this week that he'd support a $300 million state contribution to a Vikings stadium.

GOP leaders said paying for the stadium, not timing, was what they wanted to hear about. House Speaker Kurt Zellers expressed doubt over the current plans to pay for a state contribution with memorabilia and satellite TV taxes.

"We've always said we'd be willing to consider something, but it can't be just a tax on a certain group of people or a certain product to pay for a stadium," Zellers said.

The Vikings welcomed the governor's announcement, and said that they would be ready to move ahead immediately on a stadium. Team vice president Lester Bagley said that could mean construction could beat a timeline set by the Metropolitan Council last week.

Dayton is expected to meet with officials from the NFL Tuesday and Vikings team officials on Wednesday.

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