No Vikings Stadium in Arden Hills

Ok, let’s talk about this again…

I am going with the idea that the Minnesota legislature will approve some sort of program for the Minnesota Vikings and if that is the case then I think we should be as smart as possible with the investment we will make.

Arden Hills appears to be the favorite choice for a new stadium, but it has many drawbacks as I see it and all of them relate to the location.

First of all we are being told that the location will require road improvements which will cost somewhere between an additional $175 and $240 million dollars.  We will be asked to pay for these improvements when millions of dollars of other road projects are being cut or delayed.  We have critical safety and maintenance issues that should take priority over building new highways for the special interests of a private business like the Minnesota Vikings.

Secondly, these road improvements would not be needed if the stadium were built where existing infrastructure already serves stadiums.  Downtown Minneapolis has a central location (Arden Hills is on the northern side of the Twin Cities metro area) and existing infrastructure serving it.

Thirdly, the supporters of the Arden Hills site seem to think that building a stadium will stimulate development in that area.  I’m not sure development is a good idea there, but I doubt it would happen anyway.  We already have a surplus of office and retail space in the area and the housing market remains depressed.  It seems like a pipe dream to expect acres of sports stadium and parking would draw development.

A central location like downtown Minneapolis has other advantages as well.  It already has a concentration of hotels and other businesses that will serve the stadium.  Supporters of the Arden Hills site counter that football only is played eight or ten days a year so the impact isn’t that great overall.  Really?  So where then is the advantage of building in an isolated location like Arden Hills?  Existing businesses in a location like Minneapolis would both benefit from and support the needs of a new stadium without the risk of building new facilities that may or may not draw the kind of business they need to be profitable.

If our hundreds of millions of our tax money is going to support a new stadium for a private business, we need to be careful to make it a smart investment that serves as many public interests as is possible and not the singular interest of the Minnesota Vikings.

Someone tell us again the advantages of the Arden Hills site.  So far the only argument that rings true is space available there.  That alone does not make Arden Hills the right place for a project like this.

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