Dayton Wants Stadium Site Information Next Week

Gov. Mark Dayton gives Ramsey County and Minneapolis until next Thursday to provide him and key legislators their final proposals for a Minnesota Vikings stadium.

“You need to have a deadline to get people to do what they need to do,” Dayton said Thursday in announcing the deadline.

Both entities promised to comply.

“We appreciate Gov. Dayton’s keeping the ball moving on the stadium issue and we are more than happy to provide him with the latest analysis and planning for a new Vikings stadium in Minneapolis,” said a statement released by Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak and City Council President Barbara Johnson. “We are confident that our plan is viable and that we are the only local partner with a local financing tool.”

The Vikings say they prefer building a new stadium at Arden Hills, in northern Ramsey County, but Minneapolis officials say a stadium could be built in their city cheaper than the $1.1 billion in Ramsey county.

Dayton said he would rather work with the team, but did not rule out the possibility that he and the Legislature could dictate where the new state-owned stadium would be.

The governor credited Rep. Morrie Lanning, R-Moorhead, for the idea of setting a deadline. Lanning and Sen. Julie Rosen, R-Fairmont, lead a working group of legislators and governor’s aides who hold regular closed-door meetings to develop a stadium bill.

Dayton said the deadline would enable the working group to produce a bill legislators can deal with soon after they begin their 2012 session on Jan. 24. If the stadium question lingers too long, the governor said he fears it will become entangled with other legislative issues and may not pass.

A Nov. 7 deadline Dayton had set to receive information to prepare a bill for a pre-Thanksgiving special legislative session fell apart when legislative leaders said they did not want a special session.

The governor said he has not asked legislative leaders about next week’s deadline, but promised “I will next time I see them.”

He said he hoped to talk stadium specifics next week with House Speaker Kurt Zellers, R-Maple Grove.

Getting information from Minneapolis and Ramsey County is important, Dayton said, since he has not made up him mind what site he likes better. “I can’t tell you today which site I prefer because I don’t have enough information.”

He said the stadium issue is in the “semi Twilight Zone” because information is lacking.

Besides picking a site, state leaders must decide how to fund a stadium. Some form of gambling is the preferred route for many leaders, but no decisions have been made.

Dayton and Lanning say the Vikings could provide up to half of the funding, but state and local officials must come up with the rest.