Update: Vikings Stadium Agreement Reached
As SavetheVikes.org Founder, Cory Merrifield is happy to hear about the agreement, but as a Shakopee resident, Merrifield's opinion is slightly different.
The Vikings reached an agreement with Governor Mark Dayton, Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak, City and State leaders Thursday on a proposal to build a new publicly-owned stadium near the current Metrodome site.
And while it's not personally his favorite site, Shakopee resident Cory Merrifield, who is also founder of SavetheVikes.org, said Thursday that if it's going to get done this year, this is the deal.
"It’s not how I thought it was going to end up but I've got to give the (Minneapolis) mayor credit – he’s found a way."
He also said although he likes the idea of basing the design on Lucas Oil Field in Indianapolis and the idea for a plaza for fans, he's not sold on the tailgating area.
"I don't think it's going to be the tailgating mecca we hoped for in Arden Hills or Shakopee," he said.
He also has concerns about the agreement gaining approval from the Minneapolis City Council and state legislators.
"If this thing crashes and burns – I’ll be back at Winter Park saying let’s take another hard look at Shakopee," he said. "I will not exhale until I see that first show."
The $975 million deal, contingent on legislative approval and the support of the 13-member Minneapolis City Council, includes a $427 million team/private contribution, the third-largest private contribution in NFL history, and 44 percent of the up-front capital costs. The state of Minnesota would contribute $398 million and the city of Minneapolis $150 million.
"Not a single tax dollar from the state's general fund would be used for this project," Gov. Mark Dayton said at a press conference this morning.
The Vikings have also agreed to pay $13 million in annual operating expenses/capital improvement funding for the publicly-owned facility that will be used throughout the year for other events. When the Vikings’ capital contribution and the team’s share of operating expenses are combined, the private contribution covers more than half (50.6 percent) of the project’s life-cycle costs.
"Today is a big step forward in making this project a reality," said Vikings owner Zygi Wilf.
The proposed stadium is modeled after the Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Building the new stadium east of the Metrodome site would allow the Vikings to play in the dome during construction and the goal is to only have them play at the TCF Stadium for one year during final construction.
Shakopee Mayor Brad Tabke, who, with a small team proposed in January that a stadium be built in Shakopee, posted on Facebook Tuesday night that he is glad the Vikings wil have a home in Minnesota.
"Obviously bummed it isn't Shakopee – but we couldn't finalize an alternative to racino for local partner funding in time," he wrote. "Now we need to support racino and get it passed for Canterbury Park!"