MINNEAPOLIS -- Taxpayers throughout the state closely followed negotiations before lawmakers decided on a plan for a new football stadium downtown.
Those intimately involved in the project --the city, the state and the Minnesota Vikings -- are busy crunching the numbers and sorting through proposals.
"It's pretty far down the road I'd say," Minneapolis City Councilmember Gary Schiff explained, noting that land purchase agreements have been negotiated.
But there are few things that Schiff says still need to be discussed.
One big part of the plan involves a proposed park surrounded by development opportunities just west of the current Metrodome site.
"We want to make sure this is a great park that meets the standards of the Minneapolis Park System and so we still have to figure out how that's going to be paid for and how that's going to be financed," he noted.
Schiff is also keeping close tabs on a parking facility that will be connected to the new stadium.
"If a private development is going to come in on top of a city financed parking ramp, I think the city taxpayers should be able to get a little bit of relief for having helped build that parking ramp," the council member concluded.
That's a discussion that will happen in the coming weeks.
The Hennepin County Board will also have a future conversation about that park, which would shut down a portion of Portland and Park Avenues. Commissioners are concerned about shutting down two main feeder routes in and out of Hennepin County Medical Center.
A third discussion, to be held in a Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority board room, surrounds the cost of skyways around the new stadium. There has been some speculation about the millions that will be spent connecting the new venue to parking structures and the rest of downtown.
Chair Michele Kelm-Helgen says they're sorting through developers proposals right now.
"That skyway connection could be key, but none of it's been worked out in terms of how much it would all cost and who pays for what," she explained.
Money for skyways would likely come out of the state's contribution for infrastructure improvements. Kelm-Helgen says a recent discussion with the group that chooses hosts for the NCAA Final Four underscores the importance of a connection between the city and the stadium.
"One of the things we talked about, a very important piece they look for is the connection to the hotels and restaurants and the stadium itself," the chair remarked.
The goal for all parties involved is to tie everything up before breaking ground in October.
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