Vikings stadium receives final approval from Minneapolis City Council on 7-6 vote
Kevin Reich, in the end, didn't want to risk going down as the man who ran the Vikings out of Minnesota.
The drama is done, folks. This morning, on a 7-6 vote, the Minneapolis City Council gave final, official approval to a funding plan that will construct a new Vikings stadium on the Metrodome site. Groundbreaking is expected to take place next February or March.
Sandra Colvin Roy, one of the two relatively tepid "yay" votes on the council, broke down during today's meeting while discussing how she decided to support the stadium plan while sitting awake by herself at 4 a.m. one recent morning. Reich, the other tepid "yay," said "there's always a better deal out there, but lawmakers shot down every better deal."
To the bitter end, opponents of the plan decried the use of $150 million in Minneapolis tax dollars to fund the stadium.
Council Member Gary Schiff said "this is a sad day for Minneapolis taxpayers" and called the half-billion dollar subsidy from the state and city "the largest act of corporate welfare ever approved in the state of Minnesota." He later urged Minneapolis voters to hold their elected officials accountable for approving the stadium plan.
Today's a sad day for taxpayer watchdogs, but a joyous one for Purple fans.
Council Member Lisa Goodman warned that the city's investment in a new Vikings stadium could turn out like the city's investment in the empty hole of suck that used to be called Block E.
"When we put all our eggs in this basket we run the risk of another Block E. And I don't think that's what anyone wants," she said, adding that "we'll look back on this in the future and wonder what we were thinking."
That remains to be seen. For stadium supporters, at least, today is a happy day. Shortly after council's vote, reports emerged of Mayor RT Rybak downing bottles of Grain Belt in his office. Across the river, Governor Mark Dayton applauded the council for showing "vision and courage to lead Minneapolis in putting together a stadium plan that is best for Minneapolis and Minnesota."
For better or worse, folks, we're stuck with our beloved-but-cursed Purple, electronic pull-tabs, and downtown Minneapolis hospitality taxes for the foreseeable future. Let's just hope the Vikes finally win a Super Bowl or two along the way.
-- Taxpayers League's poll says majority of Minneapolis opposes Vikings stadium plan
-- Vikings stadium bill receives final legislative approval; Mpls City Council vote last step
-- Majority of Minneapolis City Council now supports Vikings stadium
-- Vikings, Rybak, Dayton, pro-Vikes legislators finally unveil stadium plan
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