Insight News

Dec 21st

Stadium issue is the budget vs. the building

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ryanThe legislative window for Vikings efforts towards a new stadium has closed and the fact that there is a looming state budget shortfall doesn’t spell well.  Yet the campaign is on throughout the state to convince the business community of the benefits that a new Vikings stadium could bring.  The legislative session adjourns on May 17, so it doesn’t look good, save a miracle, but that might not be so bad after all. As the recent national healthcare legislation proved, and as Prussian theorist Carl von Clausewitz stated, “No campaign survives first contact…”

Jobs, Jobs, Jobs. That is what I see when I have had the opportunity to survey the recent activity around the new Twins and Gophers structures. I’m sure this is part of the message delivered by the Vikings staff and supportive legislators, as they visit with the various statewide Chambers of Commerce and Fortune 500 company CEOs. For those like the man (Jeff Baker), who posted the recent billboard stating, “Dear Mr. President, I need a Freakin’ Job” I would have to imagine that the construction jobs and service contracts that would be born through the stadium project make a lot of household’s palms itch. Naturally there is quite a bit of excitement for the Twin Cities community for the newly-built stadiums, like a child having a new toy to play with, but it doesn’t hurt that the buildings don’t suck. This only proves the quality of the construction industry residing here in our backyard, and the compliments have been heard far and wide for the Twins stadium in particular.

It would be an easy decision if it were only those Pro’s that go into the Viking stadium issue, but the Con’s are the same for the bum on the street and the state of Minnesota alike: money, greenbacks, sawbucks, dividends, bread, scratch, cheddar cheese, or whatever you want to call it.  The financial situation for the State, Nation, and World are…bad, and seem to go every whitcha’ way, every other day (the wonders of the 24hr news cycle don’t help).  It takes time, vigilance, creativity, and will to get through these periods in the country’s history, and the same is the case for the Vikings efforts to get a new stadium.

The key word, in my puny opinion, is creativity. There is certainly opportunity to be had should a large entertainment construction project come to a region, and it is up to those “haves” to find ways to make it work for the good of the community at large; and likely their own investment bottom line in the long run. The majority of the $870 million dollars for a retractable roof stadium shouldn’t come on the back of taxpayers. The Vikings investment will be one-third of that $870 projection. Targeted taxes at memorabilia and such seem feasible, but Gov. Pawlenty is potentially gearing up for campaigns towards greener political pastures, and his stance on tax increases has always seemed to lead his overriding message as a politician, so he might be trying to leave this one for the next guy rather than provide ammo to future political opponents.

It all makes for a pretty interesting story that has some real pocketbook implications for many. I can’t call it other than to confirm my joy of passing my ticket to a young fella from St. Paul Selby residence, and getting my hot dog from one of those brilliant young girls from the Northside. And so like I said, it’s up to the “haves” --executives, politicians, and letter-writing constituents (you and I)-- to work it out. But, if the state constituency hasn’t’ given up on the Timberwolves, then I think you can always bank on support from the folks around here to make a big sporting investment go well.

No answers over here where I sit, but plenty of fodder for the barbershop. What I do know is that the Vikings Metrodome lease expires after the 2011 season, so they better keep the PowerPoint presentations rollin’ because L.A., my hometown, needs a football team, and the Vikings colors already match my Lakers’ uniforms.

The Twins are kicking butt, and the Vikings are coming off of an “almost” Superbowl year. But once again, so much rides on the diabolical mind and aging body of one Brett Lorenzo Favre. I mean, if Brett doesn’t come back then all of that money and job growth might be riding on the arm of one Tarvaris Fox Jackson. I hope that happens so I can say, “I told you so,” when Tarvaris leads The Purple to a Superbowl victory. Long Live the Tarvaris Jackson Fan Club!


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