US Bank Stadium In Minneapolis Almost Became A Minnesota Homeless Shelter
US Bank Stadium is the home to the Minnesota Vikings but in late 2012 it almost became something more with a bill that capitalized on a loophole.
The story starts in May 2012, the first approval to start US Bank Stadium was in the books. The Minnesota Legislature and the Minneapolis City Council finally approved funding for a structure to replace the Metrodome.
According to the US Bank Stadium website, it was budgeted for a hefty $975 million dollars. In 2013, the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority, the Minnesota Vikings, and HKS Sports and Entertainment showed off the new and very different design for the building.
Here's where the homeless shelter came in. US Bank Stadium is partially publicly funded. According to NBC Miami, there were two congressmen in Florida, Mike Bennett, and Mike Fasano, who were tired of the public funding of all these new stadiums and wanted some public use out of the stadiums.
So, the two lawmakers set out to introduce a bill that took advantage of a loophole. The law which has existed since 1988 states that any ballpark or stadium that receives taxpayer money shall serve as a homeless shelter the days it's not being used. They would start in Florida and then go national.
According to MBC Miami, they would go after all publicly funded stadiums. In Florida, that meant the Miami Marlins' new ballpark in Miami's Little Havana, the Tampa Bay Rays' Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, and several spring training facilities. It also includes the homes of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tampa Bay Lightning, Miami Heat, Jacksonville Jaguars, and Florida Panthers.
According to NBC Miami, the bill stated if they didn't use the facility as a homeless shelter, or help the homeless, the owners might have to return $30 million in benefits that were already bestowed if the bill passes and they can't prove they were running homeless shelters.
That would mean there would have to be areas of US Bank Stadium that would have to be staffed and allocated for the homeless on a regular basis while the team (MN Vikings) were not playing or using the stadium. Since, the MN Vikings don't use the building to practice in, when it wasn't hosting an event, it would have to be used as a homeless shelter.
US Bank Stadium wouldn't be the only one affected, any stadium that used public funds to build would be subject to the same rules. Target Field and Target Center would also be included in this law.
The end of the story is, the bill never passed, and I'm thinking the Wilf family breathed a sigh of relief. I think it's a great idea but would cost the team a lot of money which would only be passed on to patrons at ticket and food prices.