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Legislator: Stadium issues 'need to be resolved'

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news Willmar, 56201
Willmar Minnesota 2208 Trott Ave. SW / P.O. Box 839 56201

ST. PAUL -- A Minnesota Vikings football stadium bill is not ready for kickoff.

"We have some issues that need to be resolved," Rep. Morrie Lanning, R-Moorhead, said Wednesday after meeting with Vikings owner Zygi Wilf. "These are not simple matters that are going to be solved overnight."

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Lanning, the lead House author of a bill authorizing funding for a stadium, said he did not know if the issue can be settled before the Legislature adjourns for the year on May 23. He said he has not talked to Gov. Mark Dayton about whether he would call a special legislative stadium session if issues remain when the Legislature goes home.

Wilf and Ramsey County on Tuesday announced plans for a $1 billion stadium north of Minneapolis and St. Paul. But Lanning said he still is waiting for details from the proposal.

No future meeting has been scheduled with Wilf, Lanning said.

The Moorhead lawmaker and Senate stadium bill sponsor Sen. Julie Rosen, R-Fairmont, told Wilf about their concerns, including the need to improve highways in the area to accommodate fans headed to a 65,000-seat stadium. One estimate indicates it would cost Minnesota $7 million a year to bring highways up to where they need to be, money Lanning said the state does not have.

"That is a major concern," Lanning said.

The morning meeting with Wilf, Vikings Vice President Lester Bagley and legislators was the first since the team picked the Ramsey County plan over one to reuse some of the Metrodome in Minneapolis.

When the plan was announced Tuesday, Wilf called the Arden Hills location in northwestern Ramsey County the ideal site. He emphasized the space it would give the Vikings, which would allow for tailgating and other game-day activities.

Don Davis reports for Forum Communications Co.

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