It seems like it's always one step forward and two steps back when it comes to a new Minnesota Vikings stadium.  For people who wish the Minnesota Vikings would stay in Minnesota, is this a good sign or is it just more smoke in hopes of moving a stadium plan forward?

Ramsey County Board members on Tuesday unanimously approved a $28.5 million purchase of 430 acres in Arden Hills with the goal of using it for a Minnesota Vikings stadium if the state finds the money to pay for it.

The deal is firmly contingent on the state finding the money to pay for the land.

The county has until Aug. 1, 2012, to cancel the deal without paying a penalty if the $1.1 billion stadium doesn't get going. Commissioners said it's a good deal with or without a stadium because of parkland preservation and the chance to develop the fallow property. The purchase requires the federal government to remediate the former munitions site to industrial standards.

The site, at the northeast corner of Hwys. 10 and 96, is the biggest chunk of undeveloped land in the Twin Cities and the largest Superfund parcel in the state. Vikings owner Zygi Wilf is expected to use 260 acres for the stadium and have an option for several years to develop 120 acres surrounding it.

The plan was announced last week, but there has been no breakthrough agreement on a means to pay for it. The Vikings have committed to paying $407 million for an stadium in Arden Hills, leaving the state with a $650 million share -- presumably including the $28.5 million for the property.

Commissioners Tony Bennett and Rafael Ortega said the deal should quell concerns about surprise acquisition and remediation costs. They also tout the jobs benefits of cleanup and construction at the site that has gone undeveloped for more than a decade.

The Vikings repeatedly have said they want to move from the Metrodome to Arden Hills.

But the money is no small concern. Dayton has ruled out a countywide half-cent sales tax as a funding source

via Ramsey County board approves land deal in Arden Hills |