Column: The time is now to save the VikingsI would like to take this opportunity to connect with you on a very important issue, a new stadium for the Minnesota Vikings.
By: Cory Merrifield, SavetheVikes.org, Worthington Daily Globe
SHAKOPEE — Dear Minnesota Legislative Leaders,
The day is Friday, April 8, as I put pen to this paper. Today is opening day at Target Field in Minneapolis, the new home of the Minnesota Twins. I would like to take this opportunity to connect with you on a very important issue, a new stadium for the Minnesota Vikings.
Four years ago, the Twins reached their destination of finding a new home, outside the Metrodome. No one can deny the Twins ran a great campaign for a new stadium, and rightfully so. The Twins had the luxury of a booming housing market and robust economy during their efforts. You know this because you provided much-needed leadership on the Twins stadium issue and made it happen.
Since then, times have changed. The economy is showing signs of optimism and now recovering from the recession. And the Metrodome has become an even worse venue to host a professional sports team. The reasons the Twins left the Metrodome have only become more apparent to its remaining tenant, the Vikings. Those reasons became abundantly clear to the rest of the world on Dec. 12, 2010, when the Metrodome roof collapsed.
Meanwhile, Target Field has proven to be a sweeping success.
I am the founder of a 30,000 person coalition of Vikings fans. We are the grassroots, and your support means the world to us. We appreciate that when we came to you wearing our Twins jerseys, you were there. We are now approaching you in our Vikings jerseys asking for your help, one last time.
Over the next few weeks you will be hearing a lot about the Vikings Stadium bill; from your colleagues, from the press, the business community and from us, the fans. We, the fans, understand you have tough challenges facing you; cutting taxes without cutting too deep, reducing the deficit and creating new jobs.
Those of us in the grassroots “trenches” have a fine line to walk. We want to be respectful of your tough challenge of conquering the deficit and at the same time communicate that time is slipping away to retain the cultural and economic asset that is the Minnesota Vikings.
With that in mind, I want to propose to you the “Fan’s Plan” for a People’s Stadium.
It’s as easy as 1-2-3! Review the tax free stadium bill details at www.SavetheVikes.org/Stadium.
l Split the cost of the multi-use, roofed stadium three ways (1/3 Vikes, 1/3 user-based fan fees, 1/3 racino)
l Combine the bill with the racino’s JOBZ bill. There is no larger opportunity to put people back to work in Minnesota over the next three years than by building a new multi-use, roofed stadium for the community and the Vikings.
l In the event you don’t like our bill in its entirety, carve out the components you like and use the research to supplement or replace undesirable components of the upcoming bill.
You campaigned on many things, but all lawmakers campaigned on one thing — creating jobs for Minnesotans. And if there is one campaign promise to keep, it’s that one. Our bill outlines how you can create 25,000 jobs in Minnesota for an industry sector facing 20 percent unemployment.
A couple weeks ago, both the Star Tribune and the Pioneer Press ran polls that show over 70 percent of the public support the proposed stadium bill in one form or fashion. Please seize the day and move forward on this issue to secure a cultural icon for the next generation so you can look at your children, and grandchildren, telling them you were the one who saved the Vikes!
Cory Merrifield is the founder of SavetheVikes.org. Constituents can email legislators in support of a stadium by going to www.SavetheVikes.org/huddle.