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Vikings Stadium Update: Land Deal in Ramsey County

MINNEAPOLIS - NOVEMBER 7: Owner Zygi Wilf of the Minnesota Vikings looks on during warmups for the game with the Arizona Cardinals at Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome on November 7, 2010 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
Ryan NelsonCorrespondent INovember 12, 2011

The push for a Vikings stadium gained major steam Friday, with TwinCities.com reporting that a land deal at the Arden Hills site has been made with the U.S. military.

For the price of $28.5 million, Ramsey County can buy the 430-acre piece of land from the U.S. military, with the federal government taking care of cleanup of the site. While estimates of the cleanup run upwards of $70 million dollars, there is a deal for the land in place from the U.S. Federal government to pick up the tab.

Reactions were mixed, and some people think the county's estimates are way off. But county officials remain adamant that the state is not on the hook for the cleanup of the site.

The Vikings issued a statement saying that the deal with the military in Arden Hills is a "positive development at the ideal site for the stadium deal."

After the criticism of the county's estimate on the land, Tony Bennett, one of the head architects in the stadium design, said that the $1.1 billion deal had $30 million planned into the deal for the stadium itself. He also stated that they were well under the $30 million, and they've now got help from Uncle Sam.

The military's contractor for cleanup had "a fixed quote price" for the cleanup of the site. The contractor, who has been left unnamed, stated that the cleanup would be complete nine months after the signing of a deal.

The county commission stated that the quote is "significantly less than the credit available to the county against the GSA's proposed property," which is good news for all involved.

Past the cleanup, lawyers from a Minnesota law firm must come in and analyze the environmental impact on the area. Grey Plant Moody also worked on the Target Field and TCF Bank Stadium sites, and stated in a letter that lawyers believe an evaluation of the area would not take as long as the Met Council seems to think it would.

The deal with the military could cut the total cost of the stadium deal and make it easier for lawmakers to pass a deal with the Vikings, as well as make the possibility of bringing a bit more cash flow to the northern suburbs, something that is desperately needed.

The stadium at Arden Hills, after cleanup, would be adjacent to the Rice Lake wildlife reserve.

The reserve, which is a beautiful park in Ramsey County, would showcase the beauty of the Minnesota outdoors near the Vikings' stadium, which is—in my opinion—a perfect way to build the stadium: combining rich Minnesota tradition with the beautifully kept outdoors feel you get in the great state of Minnesota.

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