Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Brett Farve crafted legends with their fourth-quarter heroics.
Add to that list ... Shakopee Mayor Brad Tabke?
With deadlines looming from Vikings owners to come up with a stadium deal that would keep the Vikings in Minnesota, Tabke and other Shakopee officials are running their own version of the two-minute drill. They're hoping the Vikings look past Arden Hills and downtown Minneapolis for a potential new home and consider a stadium in Shakopee.
“We’re going after the Vikings,” Shakopee Mayor Brad Tabke said Tuesday. "Our plan is solid, the location is wonderful and it fits perfectly with our existing attractions and entertainment venues."
In a news release this morning, the location is noted as between Highways 101 and 169 and situated next to a 105-acre city lot owned for park and recreation that contains a lake and room for trails and camping.
Tabke says the property has existing infrastructure, several routes in and out of the city and no need of environmental cleanup. The land has one commercial building on it that was earmarked for ADC Telecommunications, although the company never moved in. Before that, it was farmland. The property owner has signed a letter of intent to sell the land, Tabke said Tuesday.
“The Vikings clearly want a site with options, and the Shakopee site provides that,” said Tabke. “There is room for a 75,000-seat stadium and 22,000 tailgaters."
Tabke will formally announce the proposal of a Shakopee stadium site at a 4 p.m. press conference Jan. 11 at the Minnesota State Capitol. The meeting will take place in room 181 of the State Office Building. Tabke will be joined by State Rep. Michael Beard (R-Shakopee), Sen. Claire Robling (R-Jordan), Shakopee Chamber of Commerce President Angie Whitcomb and SavetheVikes.org Founder Cory Merrifield. All five worked on the plan at in Shakopee "for many hours" on Saturday, Tabke said.
“Using Racino as a local funding source makes sense," Robling said in a news release. "People should take a serious look at this.”
Tabke said the Shakopee contingent has worked nonstop to square the details before Thursday, when both Vikings owners and Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton have set deadlines for proposals that would include state money. The scope of Merrifield's involvement or influence in these talks isn't clear, but the founder of SavetheVikes.org and Shakopee resident has researched a stadium funding plan.
Among the selling points Merrifield pitches for a Shakopee site:
- At a total cost of $920 Million—the lowest cost among proposed sites;
- Outside of team contribution, the stadium would be financed entirely with income from a racino and user and fan fees;
- A 130-acre lot—four times size of Metrodome, three times the size of Farmers Market and Linden Avenue sites;
- An adjacent, city-owned 105-acre lot zoned for park and recreation contains lake with room for parks, trails and overnight camping;
- Nine hotels within a five-mile radius;
- The location is just five miles south from the Vikings' training facility at Winter Park;
- The site would fit into an entertainment corridor in Shakopee that also includes ValleyFair, Canterbury Park, Raceway Park, The Landing and Mystic Lake Casino, along with three premier golf courses
- Existing infrastructure (Electrical, Water, Sewer, Communications)
- No environmental cleanup needed
ESPN reported that, on Tuesday, team owners Zygi Wilf and Mark Wilf sent a letter to Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak and City Council President Barbara Johnson raising concerns about the city's preferred site, where the Metrodome resides. The Metrodome would have to be razed to clear ground for a new stadium, a process that could place the Vikings in the unpalatable position of playing up to three seasons of home games at TCF Bank Stadium—and undersized facility by NFL standards—at the University of Minnesota.
The Vikings have been pushing for a $1.1 billion stadium at Arden Hills, but the site isn't without problems.
As if exploiting a blown coverage in the secondary, Shakopee officials are looking to use the opportunity to bring the Vikings to the Southwest metro. The plan aligns with Tabke's lofty goal of making Shakopee the entertainment capital of Midwest.
Shakopee already hosts six million visitors each year at Valleyfair and
the Renaissance Festival, among other attractions.
Vikings officials are aware of the evolving discussions, Tabke said, and while Arden Hills is their number one plan, he said they are excited to have another plan in the mix.