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. "