ST. PAUL (AP) -- The time to act on Twins and Vikings stadiums is now and fees on ball caps, tickets, hot dogs and even space in the press box can pay for them, a state task force recommends in its draft report.
The report will be put to a vote Monday by the 18-member panel charged with giving advice to the 2002 Legislature, which will have the final say in whether the state government helps build a stadium or two.
All of the recommendations in the draft, released Friday, have been aired during hearings over the past two months. No solid numbers are included and most of the suggested funding streams are discussed in broad terms.
The report says there should be no direct contribution from the state's general treasury. Instead, the state should put up money that is repaid through user fees, sports-related taxes and, possibly, expanded gambling.
But the message is clear: The stadium issue should be addressed now.
"Like Minnesotans generally, none of the task force members were pleased with the pressure tactics and crisis atmosphere created by major league baseball," the draft states. "Regretfully, we have had to conclude realistically that the 2002 baseball season could be the last one for the Minnesota Twins unless Minnesota acts to facilitate the construction of a new stadium this year."
And the report concludes that pleas for a new stadium by the Vikings shouldn't be cast aside. The Vikings are pursuing a joint stadium with the University of Minnesota football team.
Sen. Steve Kelley, who helped write the draft, said his colleagues should "at least plan for two at the same time, even if you don't build two at the same time."
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