Gophers stadium impact statement draft released

The analysis looks at environmental, social, community and economic effects.

Lora Pabst

The proposed on-campus Gophers stadium will have a big impact on the University community surrounding it.

A document to be released today addresses many of the issues surrounding a new stadium.

The draft environmental impact statement for the proposed on-campus Gophers stadium was to be available to the public today.

The purpose of the document is “to provide information about the extent of potential environmental impacts and how they may be avoided or minimized,” as defined by the Minnesota Environmental Quality Board in the document.

University project coordinator Brian Swanson said the statement deals with the environment of the stadium in a global sense.

The statement analyzes traffic, parking, lighting, noise, stormwater and groundwater, air quality, environmental contamination, geologic hazards as well as social, community and economic effects, according to the executive summary included in the document.

Projects over a certain size are required to conduct a study, Swanson said.

In May, the Board of Regents approved a Scoping Decision Document and a Scoping Environmental Assessment Worksheet that outlined the areas to be studied, Swanson said.

There will be a public meeting for the study on Nov. 10, and public comment will be accepted until Nov. 23.

“The purpose is to inform the public about the project,” Swanson said. “It’s a major development in an area they live and work.”

University Chief Financial Officer Richard Pfutzenreuter said the study is close to the last step the University can take on the stadium project without legislative approval.

The Board of Regents will get the final draft of the study and act on it officially in February.

“After that, it’s frankly a wait- and-see situation with the legislation,” Pfutzenreuter said. “We’ve gone just about as far as we can go.”

Pfutzenreuter will attend the public meeting and hopes to get several comments from the community since the stadium project will affect neighborhoods, local and regional government, and businesses.

The funding for conducting the study came from portions of the $1 million donation from the Alumni Association and the $2 million that TCF Financial gave up front.

The document is planned to be available to view online at the Gophers stadium Web site, www.umn.edu/stadium.