The Twin Ciites North Chamber of Commerce is taking issue with a proposal from Gov. Mark Dayton to build a new Minnesota Vikings football stadium just east of the existing Metrodome in downtown Minneapolis.
The chamber, whose membership includes businesses from Roseville, is protesting what it clains is "the unorthodox, unfair and convoluted process that has apparently led to the selection of a site next to and overlapping the Metrodome for a new “Peoples Stadium.”
The Chamber has voiced support for building a new Vikings stadium at a site in Arden Hills that has been proposed by the Ramsey County Board and previously supported by the pro football team. However, Ramsey County's estimated $1.1 billion Arden Hills plan never gained Dayton's support and also encountered a firestorm of protest from many citizens, who oppose a county sales tax and hospitality taxes to fund the project.
Bill Gschwind, chairman of the Chamber's Public Policy Committee, today sent the following letter to Dayton, state Sen. Majority Leader David Senjum and state House Speaker Kurt Zellers, to share his group's views on the stadium issue. The letter is as follows:
Subject: Peoples Stadium Process
"On behalf of the members of the Twin Cities North Chamber of Commerce, we write to protest the unorthodox, unfair and convoluted process that has apparently led to the selection of a site next to and overlapping the Metrodome for a new “Peoples Stadium”.
Very early in the process, potential sponsors were asked to submit proposals that incorporated a financial plan with team, state and local sponsor funding. The Ramsey County proposal was the only detailed proposal submitted yet very quickly, after an exhaustive review by the Metropolitan Council, fault was found with financial aspects and the proposal summarily rejected.
It appears to us that the latest plan that emerged from closed door negotiations has more significant problems than did the Ramsey proposal. We suspect that had your negotiators spent as much time and effort addressing the Ramsey plan “shortcomings” as was committed to the latest plan that solutions could have been found and the many remaining obstacles avoided.
The result could have been a plan that cleaned up a valuable but contaminated site, addressed already existing traffic problems in the I-35W north corridor and sparked an economic resurgence of the north metro area.
Why has the latest plan not been subjected to a thorough review by the Metro Council and MN DOT? Why are concerns about bypassing referendum requirements not a deal breaker for the Minneapolis site as it apparently was for the Ramsey proposal?
Why not discuss using electronic pull tab revenues for the Ramsey proposal? Why shouldn’t Ramsey be permitted to potentially levy entertainment taxes like Minneapolis is proposing? Why are opinions of individual legislators able to kill options without full debate?
If you insist on pursuing the Minneapolis site, at least include the proposed bonding funds to get the (former) TCAAP (Twin Cities Army Ammunition Plant) site cleaned and ready for development. Our county, our citizens and our neighboring businesses have been burdened with this albatross for too long. The Peoples Stadium could be a great fit."