The road to a new Vikings stadium has been a long and winding one. Suggestions and proposals for a stadium location have been anywhere from St. Paul to Arden Hills to Minneapolis to Duluth. This sordid saga, however, has now verged on the brink of a tragedy. The positive progress that was made at the beginning of March has quickly evaporated. Governor Mark Dayton unveiled the “People’s Stadium” and the new bill was officially drafted just over a month ago. Mere weeks ago things looked even better. The Minnesota House panel selected to review the bill advanced the bill, albeit on a divided voice vote. Maybe we should have had more concern that it wasn’t unanimous.
Things took a dire turn yesterday in our quest for a new stadium. The House Panel decisively rejected the stadium bill’s plan to to generate public revenue for the project. All reports indicate that stadium supporters were visibly stunned. When we should be excited about the new schedule and analyzing potential matchups, instead we’re worried about this again. This is not merely another speed bump from the House on the road to a new stadium. This is a road block (at best) and the end of the line (at worst).
The proposed stadium bill had the Vikings on the hook for $427 million, although it’s likely the NFL would chip in an undisclosed amount to help the franchise with their end. The state of Minnesota had pledged $398 million, while Minneapolis was contributing $150 million. The bill also suggested that the Vikings would pay an additional $327 million to stadium operations over a period of time and the city of Minneapolis would kick in an additional $189 million themselves. Now, without the ability to generate public funds, the plan is doomed.
So where does that leave us? One things is for sure, this is what literary snobs like to call the climax. After a long drawn-out ordeal, we have finally reached the climax. What is yet to be seen is whether we are in our very own heroic epic or a Greek tragedy. It’s clear that the current plan is dead. Arden Hills may once again use this as an opportunity to project themselves back into the discussion. It’s possible that the White Earth Nation sees this as a tremendous opportunity as well. But how long can Vikings officials continue on this path? At some point, fatigue sets in. This could be the climatic ending to a Greek tragedy of sorts and we’re all pawns in the storyline.
Let’s hope not.