Late Entry Into Vikings Stadium Siting Contest

An unexpected late bid by a suburban Minnesota city to host the new Vikings stadium is unlikely to significantly change a debate on the issue in the state Capitol on Wednesday, a team spokesman said.

Mayor Brad Tabke, who just took office last week, said a 130-acre site between state highways in Shakopee already has infrastructure in place, no need for environmental cleanup and is easily accessible.

The suburb about 20 miles south of Minneapolis is already home to the ValleyFair amusement park, the Canterbury Park horseracing track and the yearly Renaissance Festival, and Tabke said a stadium would make the city a major entertainment destination of the Midwest.

But the city’s offer came just a day before a Thursday deadline set by Gov. Mark Dayton for Minneapolis and Ramsey County to offer their final stadium pitches. Dayton and lawmakers who support a public subsidy to help the team build a replacement for the Metrodome are hoping to resolve the issue in a legislative session that begins in less than two weeks.

Vikings spokesman Jeff Anderson said team officials appreciate the offer but see it as coming too late for serious consideration if lawmakers are to vote on a stadium bill this year.

“Now is a time to drill in on a final site and get a solution in 2012,” Anderson said.

Dayton said Wednesday he hadn’t yet seen the Shakopee proposal but that he was willing to look at it.

The Vikings prefer the Ramsey County option, on the site of a former Army ammunition plant in Arden Hills. But three separate sites in Minneapolis are also in play, including the preferred option by city leaders to rebuild at the current site of the Metrodome.

Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak has pitched that as the cheapest of all options, pegging it to cost about $925 million. The Vikings said Wednesday it would cost the team $67 million since they’d have to play for at least three years in the University of Minnesota’s football stadium.

Shakopee officials put a price tag of $920 million on their proposal, and said it could be funded in part by allowing the Canterbury Park track to add slot machines at their facility. But state lawmakers who back the so-called “racino” option have struggled to assemble sufficient support among their colleagues.

The Arden Hills proposal carries the biggest overall price tag, estimated to cost about $1.1 billion.