Vikings stadium roundup: Planners roll out park vision, funding debate lingers

Aerial view (HKS Achitects)

The Strib’s Richard Meryhew had a look this weekend at the plans for the plaza and open space at the front, or west end of the stadium. Landscape architect Tom Oslund, who is working with stadium architects HKS,  told the Strib: “The whole approach that we’ve taken is that it’s another one of the great civic spaces in the city on the east side of Minneapolis. I think it’s going to be a really cool urban park.”

But lest you think we’re done with the stadium debate, MinnPost’s Doug Grow has dipped back into the funding battle. He’s asking whether Gov. Mark Dayton broke his promise not to use taxpayer money, or more specifically, state general fund dollars, to pay for the Vikings stadium. The state opted for taxes on new electronic pulltab gambling to fund the stadium, and they haven’t worked out.

But Republican opponents think Dayton’s new funding plan has broken that promise, and they point to a letter from 2012. Gov. Mark Dayton sent to then-chairman of the Senate Local Government and Elections committee, GOP Sen. Ray Vandeveer. The relevant passage:

“Building a people’s stadium would provide up to 8,000 construction jobs and an additional 5,000 jobs among suppliers during its three years of construction, employ many more through its ongoing operations, and keep the Minnesota Vikings here for the next 30 years — all without using a single dollar of General Fund tax revenues.”

The state has now turned to a one-time cigarette tax and to a “loophole” in income taxes for out-of-state corporations to come up with enough new money to pay the mortgage on the stadium. Those dollars would be going to the general fund, were it not for the stadium. “We promised not to use current money from the general fund, and we couldn’t create a new tax,’’ Frans told MinnPost. “Those were the constraints.’’

Here’s the letter to Vandeveer: