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Wilf needs to keep an open mind on stadium sites

December 1, 2011
Marshall Independent

Minnesota Vikings owner Zygi Wilf's proposed contribution to a new stadium would be one of the largest stadium contributions any professional sports team owner has ever made. Wilf is digging deep into his pockets and reportedly might offer even more if he has to, to get a stadium built outside of Minneapolis in Arden Hills.

Wilf, a born businessman and real estate developer, has grown the family company from four shopping centers in northern New Jersey to more than 100 properties, including several large malls. He wants to build a stadium in Arden Hills so he can create some kind of village around the stadium centerpiece - make it a destination place and provide an overall better fan experience.

That's fine, but he needs to keep an open mind to building in Minneapolis. He has already said he will contribute less money to a Minneapolis stadium than he would to one in Arden Hills (empty threat?), but considering it would be cheaper to build in Minneapolis, we would think he would be open to all ideas.

Minneapolis leaders, who showed off their three proposed sites at a Senate hearing Tuesday, prefer the team build at the Metrodome site; there are also two other options west of downtown Minneapolis near Target Field. Couple those options with some unanswered questions concerning the Arden Hills site and it doesn't seem to make any sense for Wilf to discount building somewhere in Minneapolis.

The stadium debate is heating up with a second Senate committee hearing next week, this one on how to finance a new stadium, wherever it's built. It will remain a hot topic into the next legislative session but could still fizzle if Wilf doesn't budge on Arden Hills. That wouldn't hurt him as much as it would hurt the state that the Vikings have called home for more than five decades.

If Wilf wants to do what's best for Minnesota and Vikings fans, he needs to seriously consider all options, not just the one that will satisfy his ego.



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