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Arne Carlson: Put the brakes on the stadium district development

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Carlson (MPR Photo/Curtis Gilbert)

Former Republican governor Arne Carlson is saying the city of Minneapolis ought to hit the reset button on a planned $400 million mixed-use development slated to go up near the new Vikings stadium.

In a post on his personal blog, Carlson, who also once served on the Minneapolis City Council, says the deal suffers from complicated financial arrangements, political hazards and doubts about the Vikings ownership, among other things.

He is calling on the city to postpone a vote to approve the project, planned for a city council meeting on Friday:

   "How can a City Council digest this complicated financial arrangement in a matter of days sandwiched in between Thanksgiving and Christmas and with six members of the Council and Mayor departing and looking for jobs?

   This not only weakens accountability but also denies the public any kind of understanding and participation. Frankly, it is totally reckless.

Good projects improve in a democratic society when we have truthful and open disclosure and a thoughtful and thorough examination of all the elements involved.

   I pray that good judgment will prevail and that the incoming Mayor and Council will hold public hearings and do it right. Public service is at its best when it truly embraces the public good and earns the public’s trust."

Last week Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak urged a request for proposals be issued within weeks for the development of the top of the new stadium parking ramp.  Rybak, in an appearance before a council committee meeting, said that a delay could cost the city the chance to develop what he called  "potentially one of the great marquee tower sites that this city will ever have" and "an icon on the skyline.”