I’m impressed that the Vikings managed to create enough fear in face painters to get them to take time off from their jobs to lobby, for free, on behalf of a for profit corporation. And, it’s doubly impressive that the face painters lobbied for a stadium plan that essentially eliminates tailgating.
Parking lots will be replaced with a stadium that achieves the same task as the Metrodome with twice the space, a park, and new developments. The Vikings got their subsidies thanks to purple painted Vikings fans wandering the halls of the state capitol, but no one thought preserving parking lots for purple RVs, vans, trucks, and motorcycles was a priority.
Obviously, the face painters could get organized and pool their money to purchase a downtown parking lot in order to preserve it for tailgating. They could, but they won’t because that would involve them spending their own money to pay market rates for their entertainment. Based on how hard they lobbied for public subsidies for their private entertainment, it’s clear that they’d rather see tailgating die than open their own wallets to cover the true cost of their 10 day per year hobby.
Sadly, Governor Dayton decided to raid the General Fund to take money from schools and bridges to make up for e-pulltabs shortfalls. He did this by redirecting the first year of the new cigarette taxes to cover the first year of shortfalls from e-pulltabs. His justification was that the project – like some of our state’s schools and bridges – could fail without the funding. Sadly, he didn’t seem to realize that less than a year into a 30-year commitment is a great time for a project to fail. When you make a mistake it’s great to fail fast.
The new park and proposed development near the new stadium look promising. One of the cool things about visiting Central Park in NYC is looking at the condos surrounding the park and imagining living there. Imagine hanging out in the proposed park on one of the 42 weekends the stadium will be sitting empty, two corporate towers, the backside of Thrivent, and the architecturally uninspired HCMC to view. I’m not sure it has the same effect. That’s why the Minneapolis 2025 plan (PDF) called for moving the Vikings stadium over by the Twins stadium. The land where the Metrodome sits is more valuable today for new residential and business developments than it is as a taxpayer subsidized and property-tax exempt NFL subsidy monstrosity. We could have done this far better if the city and state hadn’t negotiated from an irrational state of fear.
Perhaps I missed it, but did you hear of any Vikings stadium design options that would have saved the public money? While the huge glass doors are indeed huge, I imagine quite a few Minnesotans would say “8 feet high is high enough for the doors. Let’s put $50 million toward new HVAC systems in some of our state’s schools so kids can pay attention in class instead.”
It’s funny that the NFL doesn’t endorse gambling unless they directly profit from the exploitation of people living in some of the poorest communities in Minnesota. In that case, they’ll take the money.
It’s also funny that the NFL doesn’t run tobacco ads, but they’re cool with Minnesota taxing the crap out of the state’s smokers in order to provide corporate Wilfare to the Vikings.
Any word on whether the stadium will support running and rollerblading? This is the “People’s Stadium”, right?