Do we want the Vikings or not? | BrainerdDispatch.com | Brainerd, Minnesota

Do we want the Vikings or not?

OTHER OPINION: STADIUM

Posted: October 23, 2011 - 6:53pm

We could spin out a long piece considering this study or that study. We could attempt to justify the ways of big league franchises and their stadiums. We could commiserate with beleaguered taxpayers at the prospect of subsidizing the interests of a billionaire. We could indulge ourselves in the fog of nuance.

Or we could get to the point. Which is, if we really want to keep the Vikings, it’s time to summon the political will to get the deal done. At this point it’s a matter of leadership. Ramsey County Commissioners Tony Bennett and Rafael Ortega have done their part. Now we need the governor and Legislature to lead. Or decide not to and accept the consequences.

After years of to and fro, there is only one plan: the Arden Hills plan. You’d think that given the components, it would be well on its way already: Public-private partnerships, shovel-readiness, reclamation of polluted ground; these things are all the rage. To top it off, there are the beloved Minnesota Vikings. And an owner who has spent a lot on player salaries and wants to keep the team in Minnesota.

One would think, given the above ingredients, this thing would be a done deal.

But the Arden Hills Vikings stadium has more going for it. It’s private and public, it’s green, and it will work. If the government is going to be involved in public works projects — and it will whether we approve or not — why not pick a winner?

As to the site, Arden Hills is the place. That’s where the Vikings want to be. It’s equidistant from Minneapolis and St. Paul. It has the enormous advantage of cleaning up the state’s largest Superfund site. And there’s no alternative plan.

Gov. Dayton rightly points out that there are “unanswered questions.” But of course. On the issues that most require leadership, there will always be unanswered questions.

— St. Paul Pioneer Press