Vikings stadium bill receives final legislative approval; Mpls City Council vote last step

A new Vikings stadium is one vote away from becoming a reality.
A new Vikings stadium is one vote away from becoming a reality.

Rejoice, Vikings fans! A bill for a new NFL stadium in Minneapolis today surmounted its last legislative hurdles -- final approvals by the House and Senate following the completion of the conference committee's work early this morning.

The bill now heads to Gov. Mark Dayton, who, as one of the new stadium's staunchest backers throughout the drama of the last few months, would surely sign it even if he had to use his own bone marrow to do so. He's expected to affix his John Hancock to the bill yet this afternoon.

That means that last thing standing between Zygi Wilf and a shiny new Metrodome-site stadium is approval from the Minneapolis City Council. And with Vikings fans already dreaming of taking in NFC Championship Games preseason games from the friendly confines of General Mills stadium, councilors would never derail the whole deal by withdrawing support for the stadium funding plan at the last possible minute, would they?

Appearing on MPR this morning, Mayor RT Rybak said he believes all seven councilors who announced their support for the stadium plan in late March are still on board.

"For the people in Minneapolis, this will continue to be the deal that will allow us to not only have a Vikings stadium but renovate Target Center and take that off our property taxes," Rybak said. "So there's a lot of good stuff in here, and I don't anticipate there will be a change."

The package approved by the legislature calls for the city of Minneapolis to contribute $150 million in stadium construction costs and about $7 million a year in operating costs, with funds derived from an already-existing citywide sales tax and downtown hospitality tax. Eventually, any additional tax proceeds beyond construction costs and the $7 million annual operating-cost contribution can be used by the city for Target Center renovations, though some have argued the city has had control over the $60 million generated annually by those taxes all along, and hence didn't need a stadium bill to help with Target Center renovations.

Kevin Reich is the last wildcard left in the Vikings stadium drama.
Kevin Reich is the last wildcard left in the Vikings stadium drama.

From the time Dayton signs the bill, the City Council has 30 days to give its approval. There's only one regularly-scheduled council meeting in the next 30 days, but Rybak has the power to call a special meeting. Seven out of the 13 council members have said publicly that they'll support the plan. Council Members Sandra Colvin Roy and Kevin Reich were the last two to announce their support, so if any councilors were to switch from 'yay' to 'nay' between now and council's vote, they'd be two likely candidates.

Referencing the fact the team agreed to pay $50 million more than they initially did as part of the final stadium deal, Colvin Roy told the Star Tribune today that "the biggest change I know of is the Vikings are going to pay more, and that's good." So it sounds like she's still solidly on board.

Reich? It isn't quite so clear what he's thinking. Today, the Downtown Journal's Nick Halter offered up the following tweet after a meeting in which Reich was in attendance:

Maybe Reich is having second thoughts about his support? It's possible, but if you were him, would you want to go down in history as the guy who ran the Vikings out of Minnesota?

See also:
-- Vikings stadium bill: Representatives 'pull rabbit out of hat,' proposal advances to full Senate
-- Majority of Minneapolis City Council now supports Vikings stadium
-- Vikings, Rybak, Dayton, pro-Vikes legislators finally unveil stadium plan

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