Ramsey County is making another bid to get back in the stadium race.
Rep. Tim Mahoney, DFL – St. Paul, said he’s offering a bill that would put a new Vikings stadium back at the former Twin Cities Army Ammunition Plant site in Arden Hills. This comes two months after Gov. Mark Dayton ruled out any option but rebuilding where the Metrodome now stands.
Mahoney said the deal would offer a $300 million local share, with $100 million financed by a 2 percent suburban food, beverage and hotel tax.
“And that money that’s raised from that tax will be used to fix up the roads around the site, which includes 35E,” Mahoney said. “So the citizens money is not going to the Vikings. It’s going to fix up the roads.”
That $100 million infrastructure cost tanked the Arden Hills plan last year.
A referendum threat didn’t help much either. Mahoney said he’ll solve that, and put the plan on the ballot “so the citizens get a chance to vote.”
Ramsey County Commissioner Tony Bennett, the chief proponent of the Arden Hills site, said the plan should not be counted out.
“We haven’t died,” Bennett said. “Sometimes the possum has to stay hidden for a while. We’re not getting any answers out of Minneapolis, other than they’re being told they can do what we can’t. So we’ll wait and see how this plays out.”
The Vikings reacted coolly to the idea. “We appreciate the interest,” said team vice president Lester Bagley. “But right now, we’re focusing on the plan in Minneapolis brought forward by Rep. (Morrie) Lanning and Sen. (Julie) Rosen.”
Mahoney was undaunted. He said he thinks good things may come to those who wait.
“Hopefully, it’ll stay in the conversation. I think we’re trying to move forward. If you look toward the future, it’s a better vision of what we’re going to do with that area. You’ve got 400 acres that no one’s ever going to live on, and if you don’t have a premiere development on it, what you’ll get there is single story brick buildings with trucks going in and out of it.”