State capitol reporter Brunswick interviewed state Senate Majority Leader Larry Pogemiller Thursday about the prospects for a new Vikings stadium as part of a large redevelopment in the Metrodome area of downtown Minneapolis. Here, he provides a fuller version of Pogemiller’s remarks than the newspaper can accomodate:
“I think the Vikings are a valuable asset to the state and I think the general thing is we need to get a way to get these kind of important projects done.
“The size and scope of what Mr. Wilf is talking about is really pretty significant in terms of construction and activity. I’m certain there will be a very serious and hopefully fruitful discussion about what would be the public participation in that, both in terms of the overall state asset of a facility and the community asset of whatever kind of development would be adjacent to a stadium.”
What kind of public participation might that be?
“I don’t know enough about what the possibilities are. No local unit of government by itself would be able to handle this type of project. It just seems to me that there would some regional and statewide participation of some sort.
“But what that is I don’t know and I don’t think the Vikings know enough to venture a guess about what that would be. Something of this magnitude, any local government could not handle it.”
What’s the time frame?
“We got to get to it. There’s a three or four year time frame for putting a project together. I’ve had no indication that the Vikings are pushing panic buttons or making any kind of discussion of ‘You guys are in trouble of losing the Vikings.’ They are just not doing it that way. It’s kind of ‘Here’s what the owner is thinking about’ and it’s obvious there’s more involved than just a stadium.”
Is there stadium fatigue at the Legislature after bruising battles over the Twins and Gophers stadiums?
“You always run up against the challenge that stadiums are not the highest priority for the Legislature. It’s not the highest priority. But in terms of construction and in terms of public infrastructure it’s a significant undertaking for our community.”
Might you be the author of legislation?
“I would doubt it. I don’t think anyone’s near that far along. I don’t know that anybody’s even talking about that kind of thing.”
Pogemiller said the Vikings wanted to lay some foundation, some groundwork — “How do we talk about this in a way that is digestible, both for the Legislature and the community?” he asked. There has been no indication of an interim stadium task force before the Legislature convenes in February. “It would be fairly informal if there is,” he said.
“People know this is an issue that’s going to be there. I think most thoughtful legislators want to have it in context to what the priorities are. I think there is clearly an intersection between this type of development and transportation issues because I’m guessing that’s why they are looking at that type of development.”