Second Ward, Minneapolis

This is the public policy forum of Minneapolis Second Ward (Green) City Council Member Cam Gordon and his staff. We use this space to talk about some of what Cam’s working on, explain his positions, and share a little of what life in City Hall is like. Please feel free to comment on posts, within certain ground rules. See our disclaimer, including ground rules, here:

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Vikings Stadium - Linden Site

I join my colleague Lisa Goodman in opposing the Linden Avenue site for the proposed Vikings stadium, though I am heartened that the farmers market site seems to be off the table. 

If a new stadium is to be built, it would make most sense to reuse the Metrodome site, which has already been assembled at great cost in Downtown East.  It is also currently served by a light rail station that will soon grant access to two light rail corridors.

Other problems with the Linden site were not mentioned in the Star Tribune article.  It is the current home of the Currie Maintenance Facility, an important service center for the City's Public Works department. Much of the land in question is owned by the city and, according to our charter, any sale of public land requires 9 votes.  It's also likely that a stadium would impact the Cedar Lake Trail, a vital nonmotorized connection between southwest Minneapolis and downtown.  The CLT already operates as a sort of tunnel under the Twins stadium, and extending that enclosed experience is likely to pose problems.

I find striking that the Governor uses as one of his arguments against the Metrodome site that it has not spurred economic development in the surrounding area in the last 30 years.  I agree.  But might this not be a problem with the Metrodome site specifically, but with the whole idea of using stadiums to generate economic development more generally?

And just to underscore, so I'm not misunderstood: no local taxpayer dollars should be put into any of these proposals without a referendum, in keeping with the City's Charter.  Whatever the legislators approve should be required to comply with and follow the City’s Charter. I do not think that it is appropriate for the state legislature to pass laws that undermine the City government’s (and the people of Minneapolis') most fundamental legal compact.

One part of that compact states:

"The City of Minneapolis, Minneapolis Community Development Agency, or any city department, agency, commission, or board, shall use no city resources over $10 million dollars for the financing of professional sports facilities without the approval of a simple majority of the votes cast on the question, in a ballot question put to the public at the next regularly scheduled election. City resources are defined for these purposes as: Tax increment financing, bonds, loans, land purchase or procurement, land or site preparation, including necessary infrastructure such as roads, parking development, sewer and water, or other infrastructure development, general fund expenditures, sales tax or other taxes, deferred payments, interest free or below market interest rate loans, the donation or below market value sale of any city resources or holdings or any other free or below cost city services. The ballot question shall not be put before the public in a special election, in order to prevent the costs associated with special elections. "


At 5:25 PM, Blogger Reuben Collins said...

Thank you for this sensible approach!

At 2:27 PM, Blogger David Skarjune said...

Thanks Cam for posting the charter ammendment. This is not about sports or development—it's about democracy, rule of law, and will of the people. Seems that Mayor Rybak and Ted Mondale don't respect the charter and citizens of the City of Minneapolis. Hennepin County Commissioner Peter McLaughlin did the same thing in 2006 for the Twins stadium. Wolves in liberal clothing...

At 8:28 PM, Blogger Kenneth said...

Mr. Gordon, Per my email to you, can you tell me how many people actually voted for this charter amendment? I don't believe that 1997 was an election year. As an off year special election, I'd guess the turnout was pretty small, right? So it was the will of how many people? Secondly, regarding David's comment that the charter amendment not about sports, etc., it certainly looks to be about sports- perhaps intended to kill the Twins stadium? (which everyone now sees was a great addition to the city)

At 8:45 AM, Blogger Robin Garwood said...


You're incorrect: 1997 was a municipal election year. The charter amendment passed in the general election with a little more than 62,000 votes, or about 70% of the vote. You can find the info here:

For what it's worth, 62,000 votes is more than any mayoral candidate received that year - or any year since. So you're also incorrect in your implication that this amendment was passed by an insignificant minority of voters that we can safely ignore.

David's general point, which is the same as Cam's, is that elected officials should not look for ways to circumvent the clearly-stated will of the people of Minneapolis on stadium questions. It's not really about a particular stadium, it's about democracy.

Lastly, you bring up the Twins stadium. I should note that Cam has been very consistent in his position on all of these facilities. Here he is in 2006, calling for a resolution (that never happened) on the Twins stadium:


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