Newspaper article

Rybak Continues Stadium Blitz as Council Votes Thursday and Friday

Newspaper article

Rybak Continues Stadium Blitz as Council Votes Thursday and Friday

Article excerpt

With the Minneapolis City Council poised to vote this week on the city subsidy for the Vikings stadium, Mayor R.T. Rybak continues to ask for public pressure to assure he's still got the seven votes needed for passage.

A council committee, of all 13 members, will vote Thursday, with a final vote of the full council on Friday.

The Minneapolis imprimatur is one of the final hurdles for the the $975 million stadium in downtown Minneapolis, on the Metrodome site, and Rybak says that even though he doesn't like the economics of professional sports arenas, that's the way life is in the big city, and Minneapolis has to deal with it.

Opponents -- and there have been six on the 13-member council -- don't like that the Legislature overrode the city charter requirement for a vote on stadium spending, and that while the Legislature lightened the state's subsidy load by requiring an additional $50 million from the Vikings, the city's still stuck with its $150 million up front share of construction costs.

With interest, the city's contribution could be $600 million, opponents say, and that's money coming from the city for a state- wide asset.

But in a message to residents today, Rybak argues that the stadium deal has gotten better for the city:

Now I don't like the economics of professional sports; no one does. But we got involved because if we hadn't tried to solve this long-standing problem, it would have gotten solved without us. That's why we were at the table -- to make sure Minneapolis got a good deal. And we got an even better one.

How is that? He counts the ways:

* For our 21% share, we will get a new, publicly-owned, $1- billion investment downtown that will create 11,000 construction- related jobs and 3,400 permanent jobs, and support thousands more hospitality jobs. And it will be open for public use for 355 days a year.

* Think about it: a private business is paying the majority of the cost for new public facility that they will use only 10 days a year for the next 30 years.

* And we're getting this major new investment for no new taxes. Only existing sales and user fees -- which are already paid by everyone who visits, lives or works in Minneapolis -- are being used for our share of the Vikings stadium. …

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