Messages from the Council Chair

“What are the potential risks?”

August 2011

Gov. Mark Dayton recently asked the Metropolitan Council and Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission (MSFC) to weigh in on a proposed Minnesota Vikings stadium site in Arden Hills. In an August 3 letter to me and MSFC Chair Ted Mondale, he wrote, “Specifically, I would like you to ascertain the potential risks, if any, of the proposal and suggest ways to mitigate or eliminate any exposure to the public.”

Council Chair Susan Haigh

Our charge is to act as neutral evaluators of the proposal by Ramsey County and the Vikings to build on the site of the Twin Cities Army Ammunition Plant.

It’s a big task on a short timeline, but it’s a smart request and an appropriate role for the two agencies. We’re pleased to serve Minnesotans in this capacity. I am confident the analysis will help Governor Dayton meet his objective of building a new “people’s stadium” when and where it makes the most sense and best meets the needs of tax-paying residents.  

A project team, including Council planners and MFSC staff, is already hard at work raising critical questions about and conducting detailed analysis of the proposal. The Minnesota Department of Transportation is lending support to this initiative, as is Minnesota Management and Budget.

Location of proposed Stadium in Arden Hills.

The proposed stadium site is off Co. Hwy. 10, north of Hwy. 694 and east of I-35W.

We hope to accomplish this important analysis and present our findings and recommendations as soon as possible. We’ve got our work cut out for us.

In the next days and weeks, we will review the site, as well as land-use and financing plans. We’ll work with experts who will evaluate needed environmental reviews, for example, and assess local, state and federal permit processes and requirements. Other tasks, including traffic modeling and assessment of wastewater facility needs, will be done by the Council, since this type of analysis is a core Council responsibility.

Another way we are ensuring this review is quick and efficient is by gathering and evaluating much of the documentation that has been created by other parties. The initial work of the Vikings, Ramsey County and City of Arden Hills will help expedite our review of the proposal.

Ultimately, we expect to have a complete report to Gov. Dayton as soon as possible. Our report will be available on our website so that legislators, stakeholders and Minnesota taxpayers can read our work and draw their own conclusions.

This review is critical to determining how Minnesota invests precious resources. It is well suited to the Council, aligning with the basic Council tenets of efficiency and economy.  I look forward to producing a final report that is timely, credible, transparent and thorough, and that accurately reflects the full spectrum of investments required by the State of Minnesota and the metro region if the state moves forward with constructing a stadium on the proposed site.

Susan Haigh

August 2011

See the completed risk analysis of the Arden Hills stadium proposal