Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges acknowledged last week that considering the addition of a Major League Soccer stadium is “a divisive issue” — just as the city took another step toward making the project happen.
MinnPost reports that city council OK’d a working group to study the proposal, which includes tax breaks.
The team’s lead owner, Bill McGuire, has said the owners will buy the land west of Target Field and pay all costs of a soccer specific stadium. It has requested that the state and city forgive the sales tax that would be owed on construction and exempt the stadium from property taxes.
Target Field is the baseball park where the Minnesota Twins play; it opened in 2010. The city’s football team, the Minnesota Vikings, will soon get a new home too. Taxpayers are coughing up nearly $500 million for that stadium. Last week, the team confirmed that U.S. Bank has bought naming rights.
The working group includes Hodges, who opposes tax breaks, and some council members who are in favor of some kind of deal to make sure the stadium happens. The Mayor and city council faced off last year over a property tax decrease that would have taken money away from several racial equity projects Hodges had planned.
MLS set a July 1st deadline on the approval.
For one expert’s take on best municipal practices when it comes to stadium deals, see Next City’s “With NFL Teams Shopping New Stadiums, How Can Cities Get the Right Deal?”
Jenn Stanley is a freelance journalist, essayist and independent producer living in Chicago. She has an M.S. from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.