Vikings Stadium: Hennepin opts out!

Opat: Hennepin County won't pursue Vikings stadium


The county board chair told Gov. Mark Dayton in a letter that Hennepin, unlike its backing of a sales tax for Target Field, won't be a local partner in the football stadium purusit.


A stadium bill introduced last month divides the cost of a new stadium -- estimated at $700 million and $900 million -- three ways between the state, the team and an unnamed local partner. Many stadium backers had hoped that Hennepin County would fill that spot.

Opat spearheaded the county's efforts five years ago to pass a sales tax to help build Target Field for the Minnesota Twins. Opat has been openly skeptical about prospects for a similar partnership with the Vikings, but he has kept the door open in ongoing discussions with state leaders and team officials.

In his letter to Dayton, Opat said proposed state cuts for Hennepin County Medical Center and social service programs, lack of enthusiasm for the project among legislators and insufficient time taken to develop "a thoughtful proposal" led to his decision to halt further explorations.

"In time of severe cuts proposed to local governments and to the services we provide, it is too burdensome for Hennepin County to act as a local partner for the Vikings stadium," Opat wrote.

Comment: Other options: Minneaopolis (the city that can't manage to plow city streets in a timely way) or Ramsey County. A good day for Hennepin County taxpayers!

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