Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Vikings football stadium in Shakopee - sounds good to me!

Go-getter Mayor Brad Tabke of Shakopee -- after just a week or so on the job -- today heads to the Minnesota state capitol in St. Paul to make a pitch to legislators for a Minnesota Vikings football stadium in the southwest Twin Cities suburb of Shakopee. To me it fits well with Tabke's assertion in a newspaper column last week that Shakopee should embrace and expand upon its title of an entertainment capitol of sorts. For many years the city has hung its hat on seasonal venues such as Valleyfair, Canterbury Park and the Renaissance Festival as well as nearby Mystic Lake Casino but, as I hear a morning radio personality say today, a Vikings stadium in Shakopee makes the southwest suburb a weekend-long entertainment destination.

I like the idea of it but for plenty it's going to be a hard to pill to swallow. The area would need little in the way of infrastructure improvements and it might even serve to hasten improvements such as an elevated Minnesota River crossing at Highway 101. It could also serve to speed up the construction of a new Highway 41 in/around nearby Chaska. Extending the third southbound lane on U.S. Highway 169 for a few miles has to be a cheaper traffic solution than fixing the mess in and around Arden Hills. The best part of a Shakopee VIkings stadium is that it supposedly requires no taxpayer funding. All of the necessary funding (outside of the Wilfs contributions) would come from gaming revenue which is a logical fit with Canterbury Park virtually next door.

To this guy, 4 PM today can't come soon enough because Shakopee's Mayor Tabke is definitely a visionary and securing a Vikings stadium and building out the infrastructure improvements properly would keep Shakopee as a destination on a year-round basis. The city is well-situated from a location standpoint as a majority of Viking season ticketholders reside in the southwest metro making the drive to games far shorter than even to a downtown Minneapolis stadium. Throw in the city's rather progressive stance (for an outer ring suburb) on transit with the BlueXpress line and two sizeable transit stations and the pieces start to come together. Let's face it, a statium overlooking the Minnesota River along Highway 101 in Shakopee would be much nicer than the lack of scenery on the barren Army munitions plant grounds in Arden Hills.

So yeah, I'm all for a Vikings stadium in Shakopee.

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