Well, the Dome days are (almost) over! With Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton signing the Vikings stadium bill into law May 14 and the Minneapolis City Council’s nail-biting 7-6 vote May 25, the Vikings stadium will become reality. During the decade long stadium saga, there has been great opposition among Minnesota legislatures on how to build what will be the newest stadium in Minneapolis. But in the end, enough people came together and passed this very important bill. During this post, you will read a very brief story about the last month’s events and a couple of suggestions that I have for the stadium.
At the end of April, the House wouldn’t vote on the stadium until other business was finished. During the first week of May, Republicans unveiled a new “roof-ready” stadium plan with harsh reviews and they scrapped their plan. Things really started rolling May 7 with debates and votes. By the end of that week, both the House (71-60) and Senate (36-30) had passed the bill. After both Chambers passed the new Vikings stadium, Dayton signed the bill into law at a rally in the State Capitol rotunda on May 14 among hundreds of Vikings fans.
The final major hurdle was accomplished when a reluctant City Council squeaked out enough votes to pass the Minneapolis portion of the bill last Friday, igniting Vikings fans and Mayor R.T. Rybak to celebrate. The bill was dead in mid-April when a Committee voted the plan down, but when the NFL visited the Capitol, the plan steamrolled across the goal line. The deal, which will also provide $150 million for Target Center renovations, must and will get approval by the NFL in the coming weeks. Thanks to people compromising, the Vikings will be in Minnesota for at least another thirty years.
The nearly billion dollar multi-purpose stadium will be built where the Metrodome now stands. Work will begin in a parking lot in October 2013 and move to where the Dome is. This means that the Dome will be demolished in early 2014 to let workers finish building the new stadium (it would be a wise decision not to use dynamite!) The Vikings will play at TCF Bank Stadium for one or two years with them moving into their new home in August of 2016. For the record, I am not sad to see the Dome be destroyed and would love to watch the 30-year-old dump crumble to the ground.
While thinking of the design of the stadium, two things immediately come to mind. The newest stadium in Minnesota must be accessible. There should be ample ADA seats on every level with wide concourses in the facility. Each price level should have wheelchair seating. The open side of the stadium with glass windows facing downtown Minneapolis should have a row of ADA seating right behind the end zone. That would be awesome!
Secondly, there should be a retractable roof so that the Vikings can open it on sunny days and close it for major events, like the Super Bowl or conventions. The other reason for the retractable roof is that the Vikings owners want to bring a Major League Soccer team to the Twin Cities once the stadium opens.
As this stadium project progresses, I will definitely have more things to discuss and bring forward. This new facility will enhance the downtown skyline for years to come, in that the big white bubble will be out of the picture. The stadium will also bring lots of national events to Minneapolis and people will be able to enjoy the stadium for generations to come. Setting the political debacle aside, what do you hope to see in Minnesota’s newest attraction?
Written by: Michael L. Sack