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Minneapolis pitches today for stadium as Dayton clarifies plans

ST. PAUL -- Minneapolis leaders made a bid this morning to be included in Minnesota Vikings stadium discussion, and Gov. Mark Dayton said any of four major legislative leaders could veto a special legislative session he plans to call for Nov. 21.

Also, as his self-imposed Nov. 7 deadline for producing a stadium plan draws near, Dayton said today that Republican legislative leaders are too busy to meet with him about a stadium until Friday.

Dayton clarified his requirements about calling a special session, saying he would need agreement from all four caucus leaders that a session would be only about a stadium. A week ago, he said he would call a session to begin Nov. 21, and wrap up three days later, which is Thanksgiving eve.

The governor this morning met with Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak and City Council President Barbara Johnson, giving them a chance to tout their city over the northern Ramsey County community of Arden Hills that the Vikings owners want as the new stadium site.

"We know how to do these things," Johnson said, referring to the Twins baseball team, Timberwolves basketball team and the Minneapolis Convention Center.

Rybak said he will present Dayton with three plans by week's end, all to put the football stadium downtown and to upgrade the Timberwolves' home in Target Center. He said each would be less expensive than the Arden Hills site.

The mayor said his preferred option would be to renovate the Metrodome, where the Vikings have played for 30 years but team owner Zygi Wilf has said is no longer acceptable.

The Vikings' Metrodome lease expires Feb. 1 and Wilf said his team will not play there without an approved plan for a new stadium.

Dayton said he will remain neutral, for now at least, about whether the Vikings play in Minneapolis or Arden Hills. He said he was not sure if his Nov. 7 plan will be site specific.

Last week, Dayton said he would accept stadium suggestions this week and after a week release a plan on Nov. 7. Today, he said he would continue to take stadium ideas next week, apparently right up until he releases his proposal.

Don Davis reports for Forum Communications Co.

Don Davis
Don Davis has been the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau chief since 2001, covering state government and politics for two dozen newspapers in the state. Don also blogs at Capital Chatter on Areavoices.