Businesses say they’d chip in for U stadium

Branden Peterson

While talk of a new stadium brings visions of bleachers filled with cheering fans for some, for Campus Pizza and Pasta owner Jim Rossvold, it brings visions of lines stretching out the door.

To help make such visions a reality, area restaurant and bar owners said Wednesday they would offer money if the University asked for help to pay for a new football stadium.

“We’ll help out in any way we can,” Rossvold said.

Donors are stepping forward, and consultants are drawing plans for a new Gophers-only stadium on the northeast side of the Minneapolis campus.

Stadium Village bar Stub & Herbs could probably earn an additional $250,000 per year if football games were on campus, owner Sue Jeffers said.

Most area establishments are independently owned, Jeffers said, so contributions would likely be minor. Still, she estimates area businesses could contribute as much as $25,000 toward the fund-raising project.

“I’m sure there are plenty of people who can give,” Jeffers said.

Area businesses contacted Wednesday said the University has not asked for financial contributions.

Without a fund-raising plan in place, Martha Douglas, spokeswoman for the University of Minnesota Foundation, said she does not know whether fund-raisers will ask nearby businesses for contributions.

Many gave money to renovate Memorial Stadium, the now-demolished on-campus football stadium, Jeffers said. Since the team began playing home games at the Metrodome in 1982, frustration made her stop attending home games, she said.

“When they took the team downtown, I lost a lot of money,” Jeffers said.

Now with financial momentum behind a football stadium drive, businesses see a lucrative future.

“You’re not going to find any business that’s not going to be in favor of a stadium,” said Todd DuPont, co-owner of Big 10, a bar and restaurant that has been on Washington Avenue since the 1940s.

Businesses will likely contribute not only because of the financial benefit caused by attracting more customers, but also to show civic pride for the University community, DuPont said.

“We have lots of money,” said Rick Tice, owner of Dubs Pub & Grill in Dinkytown. “Certainly we’d (contribute) to get a stadium back on campus.”