Monday, May 23, 2011

Problems with the Vikings stadium plan


There has been much rejoicing lately in Vikingland with the prospect of a new stadium plan for a facility in Arden Hills. Of course, people are simply getting excited about an option. There is nothing in place yet, but since everything has looked so bleak, another new idea is enough to get people excited.
I am here to rain on parades. Here are some of the problems that come immediately to mind with this stadium plan (some are problems with Minnesota stadium plans in general)

- The state and county would be on the hook for 650 million dollars, which is more than Target Field cost in it's entirety (the government paid 392 million for the Twins stadium). Target Field was an unpopular project for public funding at the time (and still is in some circles), and THAT was built during relatively good financial times, and for a primary tenant that will in a bad season, use the facility 69 more times than the Vikings will in a best case scenario season.

- For the record, in the final season before the Twins moved out of the Metrodome, they drew 2.4 million fans. In 2009, when the Vikings went to the postseason and were able to play their entire season in the same stadium, they drew 510000, one fifth of what the Twins pulled in. If you had 30k more seats, that gets you to about 800k a season.

- There is the 300 million dollars of transportation improvements that need to be done as well. I don't know the area well, but apparently they need to make some more exits, build at least one of two more roads to the area, and you had better believe that those improvements aren't going to be paid for by the Vikings. Taxes for Ramsey County residents may not increase, but you had better believe the potholes in St Paul are going to take some time getting filled.

- It's on a superfund site.This is a big deal.

- Oh, it's not on any existing mass transit routes, so I guess you can either lump that in with the cost of transportation improvements, or more likely mark it as a loss for the state, because I bet the Vikings fans would be more receptive to having people drive to the stadium and pay them for parking. No money, then, to the state for train fare.

- Arden Hills is hardly on the way to anywhere, except maybe from Forest Lake or White Bear Lake. Fun fact.. I have lived in the Twin Cities my entire life and have never been to that part of the metro. I have to believe that this isn't that unusual a phenomenon.

So, enjoy your moment, Vikings fans. People are still trying, and that's a good, thing, but there needs to be a better idea.

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