Birders make new plea for safe Vikings stadium glass

Bird advocates went before the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority Friday morning, urging the panel to reconsider its plan to install transparent glass siding on much of the new $1 billion Minnesota Vikings stadium under construction in downtown Minneapolis.

Lisa Venable of Minnetonka made her case for warblers, “little creatures that weigh less than an ounce, flying 1,000 miles in one stretch. Do we really want to punish this amazing athlete by building a crystal palace for him to crash into?”

Speaking for several dozen birders at the meeting this morning, she made some new and novel claims to the stadium board, including that the 1918 Migratory Bird Act “protects these birds … there’s a good chance that this glass will eventually have to be changed.”

She asked if the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority could afford to replace the stadium exterior.

MSFA chairwoman Michele Kelm-Helgen said the construction would proceed as planned, without a change in the glass.

“It’s about the design of the building …  a significant point of the design was to try to have this transparency as you look in and as you look out,” Kelm-Helgen said.

“We are certainly not the tallest glass building in the downtown Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington areas. We do not have the most glass of the buildings downtown,” she said. “I think the same way all these other buildings have managed the issue, which is to turn out the lights during migratory periods, that seems to have been the way many other buildings have managed this. So we’re confident we’ll be able to work with this.”