If you build it, they will stay

A new Vikings stadium makes more sense in Minneapolis than Arden Hills.

In recent years, Minnesotans have become accustomed to the high stakes game of sports stadium construction. The Minnesota Twins were considered a flight risk without a new ballpark, and many remember the Minnesota North Stars becoming the Dallas Stars after a stadium dispute led to relocation.

Fast forward to today and the rules of the game are no different with the Minnesota Vikings. While the state should support a new stadium for the Vikings, government officials shouldnâÄôt give away the farm under the weight of this apparent trump card. Of the two stadium proposals currently being considered âÄî one in Arden Hills, Minn., and one in Minneapolis âÄî the Minneapolis proposal, even though itâÄôs not favored by the Vikings, makes more sense.

First, the Minneapolis proposal costs less to the public. Under the Arden Hills proposal, the publicâÄôs contribution is projected to be $825 million, including $175 million for infrastructure improvements. Under the Minneapolis proposal, the public is expected to contribute $495 million.

Second, the Minneapolis proposal takes advantage of existing infrastructure. Why spend public dollars on new infrastructure when the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome site has been custom-tailored for this specific purpose? Furthermore, moving the Vikings to Arden Hills puts the public in a position to lose out on the most important current infrastructure investment: the Central Corridor light rail.

As the battle at the Legislature heated up, a Vikings official said the stateâÄôs cost projection for infrastructure improvements didnâÄôt pass the âÄúsmell test.âÄù But itâÄôs the Arden Hills proposal, not the stateâÄôs cost projection, that doesnâÄôt pass the test.