The Vikings and Ramsey County officials announced on Tuesday a deal to build a new NFL stadium in Arden Hills, with what we regarded to be a premature atmosphere of celebration and, at times, outright euphoria from the speakers and the throng of Vikings fans in full game-day regalia. But the determination of a site for the venue represents only one item (albeit a big one) on the to-do list.
Apart from persuading the Minnesota Legislature to provide $300 million or so in state funding for the project — along with the inclusion of a provision allowing Ramsey County to impose a countywide sales tax to fund the project without a public vote — the City of St. Paul will have a voice in the matter, given that St. Paul is the biggest city in Ramsey County.
According to Mike Kaszuba and Rochelle Olson of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, St. Paul mayor Chris Coleman has to date said nothing at all about the proposal. He wasn’t present for Tuesday’s press event, and his silence could be a sign for now of disagreement.
Indeed, if Coleman welcomed the move, wouldn’t he have attended the brand-new stadium sausage party?
“Because St. Paul [is] the largest city in the county, I’d expect that you’d certainly want his support,” Senator John Harrington, a co-author of the Vikings stadium legislation, told the Star Tribune. Harrington added that, if Coleman comes out against the project, “I don’t know that it kills it.”
It may not kill the project, but it would make it harder to persuade the Legislature to justify foisting a new sales tax upon St. Paul and Ramsey County without a public vote. And a public vote undoubtedly would kill the project, given that so many Minnesotans seem to be opposed to the use of public funds for the stadium.
Except for the folks who wear horned hats and/or purple capes on many days other than Halloween.