Reinert Announces Proposal for Viking’s Stadium in Duluth
Today, Senator Roger Reinert of Duluth introduced a proposal that would make Duluth the new home for the Minnesota Vikings. His proposal was delivered via letter to Governor Mark Dayton.
Senator Reinert believes that if last year’s Superbowl champions, the Green Bay Packers, can attract ticketholders from over two hours away in Madison or Milwaukee, the Vikings can certainly do so as well. “Stationing the Vikings in Duluth is economically advantageous and will help further supplant the message that the Vikings represent all of Minnesota and are not exclusive to the metropolitan areas of Minneapolis and St. Paul.”
While the Twin Cities may be recognized as the primary hub of economic development for the State, Senator Reinert believes that the City of Duluth is ready to support the facility.
The proposal places the stadium southwest of the downtown Duluth area on 500 acres of what was once the US Steel /Atlas Cement Works Site. In the final stages of its environmental clean-up, the area, if selected, could soon begin construction of both a stadium and supporting recreational amenities.
The City already supports a tourism industry in excess of 3.5 million tourists annually with a direct economic impact ranging from $750-$780 million. Of these, 48% already travel north from the 11 county metro area. Another 29% come from the rest of Minnesota. “Duluth is already a favorite destination for Minnesotans. Adding a Vikings venue will just be one more reason for folks to travel to a favorite destination. Additionally, The Northern Lights Express, a 155-mile passenger rail line connecting Minneapolis to Duluth, can provide great convenience to Vikings fans that prefer to not battle the dense metro traffic during Sundays. The NLX is expected to be operational in 2015.
The Senator proposes that the state’s portion of stadium funding be paid through the passage of his proposed Sunday Sales legislation. SF 0197, which currently rests with the Senate Commerce Committee, is estimated to generate $10.6 million dollars in net revenue each year for states like Minnesota. I’m shocked this revenue option has not been pursued. The Vikings fan base is one of the largest Sunday Sales advocates. They’re the very ones headed over the border on a Sunday pre-game run. Sunday Sales doesn’t create a new tax, and it doesn’t raise any taxes. It simply captures revenue currently lost to our neighboring states, especially Wisconsin.
My proposal would benefit all parties involved,” said Reinert. “Duluth is a vibrant and growing regional economy that has weathered this past recession well. The Vikings in Duluth merit serious consideration.”