Paul Kohls and the Metrodome

As many of you have no doubt seen, Rep. Paul Kohls introduced a bill yesterday that would sell the Metrodome to the Minnesota Vikings for $1 in return for the team committing to play in Minnesota for the next 20 years. 

Kohls’ explanation:

“We just can’t afford [to help pay for a new stadium], and I’ve never supported using taxpayer dollars for professional stadiums.”

That’s all well and good, but if one is opposed to subsidizing professional stadiums, why would you sell a large, valuable piece of taxpayer-owned property next to a LRT station on the eastern end of Downtown Minneapolis for $1?  The fact of the matter is that selling the stadium to the team for $1 is using taxpayer dollars for professional stadiums.

Now, such a deal with the Vikings may well be cheaper than the cost the state would incur as part of building a new stadium.  But that brings us to the next problem:  the deal has no chance of actually happening.

The Vikings have consistently stated that they have no interest in staying in the Metrodome long-term.  Even the various renovation plans offered by the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission over the years have been little more than a Band-Aid and all were quickly rejected by the team.  Like it or not, the Metrodome just isn’t a viable option for a professional sports franchise anymore.

Reasonable people can disagree on whether or not the state should be involved in building a new Vikings stadium (or to what dollar amount the state should be willing to go).  The fact of the matter is, though, that building a new stadium is what’s going to have to happen if we want the Vikings to stay in Minnesota long-term.

So the Kohls proposal is dead on arrival.  Kohls knew that before he proposed it, no doubt.  It did achieve its central purpose, though.  It generated headlines and TV coverage, and gave the impression that somebody is doing something. 

Don’t we deserve better than cynical proposals that don’t make sense and have no chance of actually happening?  Don’t we deserve better than bills that make for great soundbites but bad policy?

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One Response to “Paul Kohls and the Metrodome”

  1. Excellent take and on point. This still doesn’t solve the $600M gap we are sitting at to build it. I would rather the State own the stadium so the state can profit from the big national events it would attract.

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