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The House That Zygi (Hasn’t) Built

May 5, 2010

Hmm...That doesn't look like Minneapolis.

It seems everywhere I go this week, I hear talk of a new Vikings stadium. As I listen to the buzz surrounding the possibility of new digs for the purple, I can’t help but think there is a better shot of Brett Favre making a comeback for the Packers than this stadium has of being funded under the current governor. You see, the great state of Minnesota has elected (and re-elected) Timmy “The Veto” Pawlenty, who likes to play a little game called, “I am going to take my ball and go home.” The short of it is Pawlenty says no to anything that even resembles a tax increase. Despite the fact he was recently beaten at his own game, T-Paw simply will not budge.

Just to be clear, I am whole-heartedly in favor of the Vikings staying in Minnesota. I love football and cringe at the idea of seeing another purple and gold team move to Los Angeles. However, funding a new Vikings stadium is going to take some very creative thinking. Call me cynical, but I don’t picture lawmakers joining hands and singing Kum Ba Yah any time soon.

As long as we’re on the subject of spending, oh say, $791 million dollars, maybe we should ask the powers that be a few more questions. Jay Weiner of MinnPost did exactly that. He asked 13 insightful questions that very few of us have even begun to consider. The entire article is a worthwhile read, but for the sake of time, here is a sample:

9. Where are the “social responsibility” pieces of any deal?

Affordable tickets? Commitment to public transit? (If it’s at the Dome site, LRT [Light Rail Transit] is already in place.) Commitment to no TV blackouts? Affirmative action for the work force?

The Twins/Hennepin County deal provides funding for youth sports and libraries. That’s good.

In today’s Pioneer Press, there is a troubling story about cuts in junior high school sports. For the moment, let’s set aside all the other needs in the state. (For a moment.) And just focus on sports. Do we want a community in which we are whipping up a $700 million to $1 billion pro football stadium deal, but in which we can’t afford to cover the costs of junior high sports for boys and girls who really need it?

If I were asked to predict the future, I would say there will be a new Vikings stadium. On the other hand, I don’t think anything will be decided any time soon. For better or worse, these things move slowly…just like Brett Favre’s retirement plans.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. May 8, 2010 9:23 am

    Nice post. I agree that I want the Vikings to stay in MN. Do you think they would mess up the stadium vice versa of the new Twins stadium? That is, make it a dome, and not outdoors. I am still amazed they choose to make the Twins stadium an outdoor-only facility.

  2. May 8, 2010 11:20 am

    I hope not. In an ideal world, the new stadium would have a retractable roof, but when all is said and done, I think the Vikings will take whatever they can get.

    The Queens are in a precarious spot. If they pushed to build a domed stadium, many would wonder why not just renovate the Metrodome? The Vikings’ brass doesn’t want that, so they’re pushing for a roof that can open and close.

    I also can’t believe Target Field is topless. I’m heading to the game tonight and it’s supposed to be a balmy 49 degrees. I guess I’ll have to wear my insulated Packers poncho!

  3. May 8, 2010 2:52 pm

    Be sure to bring your camera. I smell another post (re: Packer poncho reaction)!

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