Though Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton plans to propose that a new Vikings stadium be constructed on the site of the Metrodome, the project entails many challenges.
Given the current mood of the electorate in Minnesota, the biggest challenge comes from getting the place built without having to put the matter on the ballot.
In 1997, voters adopted a provision in the Minneapolis charter that requires public approval of any payment of $10 million or more by the city for a sports facility. The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that the powers-that-be plan to circumvent that requirement by depositing city sales tax revenues into an independent stadium authority that would then spend the money.
Good luck with that.
The maneuver would render the charter provision meaningless, allowing the city to ignore the requirement any time it wants by setting up an independent authority that would receive and spend the money that the city directly would be spending. Frankly, it’s surprising that anyone would be able to articulate that possibility with a straight face.
So maybe the Vikings have reportedly decided to reluctantly accept the Metrodome site because the Vikings realize that the Metrodome site, along with any other potential location in Minneapolis, is doomed. In the end, the team’s preferred location of Arden Hills could become the only viable location for a new Vikings stadium.
Other than, you know, Los Angeles.
UPDATE 9:21 p.m. ET: Several of you have pointed out that Target Field was constructed in Minneapolis notwithstanding the city charter provision in question. However, city tax revenues were not used for Target Field. Instead, a county-wide tax was implemented via a legislative device that avoided a public vote. The ultimate challenge for the Vikings and the politicians is to find a way to publicly fund the stadium without exposing the process to the inevitable failure of a public vote.