Plans for "The Yard," an open public park that would sit adjacent to the Vikings' new $1 billion dollar stadium, are in peril.
On Wednesday night, the cash-strapped Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board members voted 6-2 in favor of removing themselves from the project, stating that the park would cost them between $2 million to $3 million per year to maintain. “Call it whatever you want, but it ain’t a park,” said Anita Tabb, one of the nine commissioners on the board. “And it certainly ain’t public.”
According to the Star Tribune, the only way the board could bring in revenue for the park would be to rent out the space for programs and events. But with the Vikings organization and the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority having already claimed dibs on a large number of dates, they doubt that plan will raise enough money.
Now, the park is back in the city's hands, and they're scrambling to figure out not only who's going to manage it — but who's going to pay for it too.
"The Yard" is slated to be in the center of a $400 million development project known as Downtown East that's expected to be completed three months ahead of the stadium in spring 2016. The Pioneer Press reports that plans are in motion to draft proposals for a new group to take over the park project.
“It is a little bit of a different animal than the wonderful public parks we have throughout Minneapolis," said Minneapolis Downtown Council President Steve Cramer. “Somehow that park has to function and be an asset for the community."
This certainly isn't the first drama that's surrounded the new Vikings stadium. Two weeks ago, the $1 billion project made news when critics claimed the building's design makes it a "death trap" for birds.
Andrew Brandt is an editorial intern with Athletic Business.