St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman floated a jumbo-sized plan Wednesday that would address Minnesota's stadium dilemma with a new statewide tax of 2 cents per alcoholic drink while keeping the Vikings in Minneapolis and moving pro basketball to St. Paul.
Coleman said his plan would raise $48 million a year for sports facilities. He said a Vikings plan to move to Ramsey County doesn't make sense; his plan would not move the team but send the Timberwolves and the Lynx to St. Paul to share the Xcel Energy Center with the Wild. Target Center in downtown Minneapolis would become a practice facility.
Coleman also would use the per-drink tax at bars and restaurants to build a St. Paul Saints ballpark in Lowertown and upgrade recreation facilities throughout the state.
Coleman called his plan a "regional approach" and said it "gives us a point on the horizon to sail to."
Some leaders involved in the stadium debate expressed intrigue with the global approach and fee. But others, including the Timberwolves and the Vikings, called some of it too late and unacceptable.
"We're going to Arden Hills," Vikings Vice President Lester Bagley said repeatedly.
Gov. Mark Dayton's point person on stadium issues, Ted Mondale, said, "It's a big idea and it's interesting. We obviously have a number of sports facilities in deep trouble."