Lawmaker raises concern over concerts at new stadium

8:50 AM, Oct 19, 2013   |    comments
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MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. -- Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority Chair Michele Kelm-Helgen spoke to members of the Rotary Club of Minneapolis on Friday, noting that the new Vikings stadium will be home to more than just football.

"I think it really helps people to feel like they really understand what's happening," she said, when asked about the informational presentations she makes 3 or 4 times a week.

Kelm-Helgen held up a clear piece of what the roof of the stadium will look like. She explained how 60 percent of the roof will be transparent.

She also presented "power points" on revenue and she talked about how the stadium was designed to promote economic growth in the neighborhood.

And then, she delivered what she considers one of her most important talking points.

"I try to point out that it's really those 10 NFL events that subsidize all the events we hold in the stadium the rest of the year," Kelm-Helgen told KARE 11.

She says on more than 350 days of the year, the stadium will be available for soccer, basketball and non-professional football games. She says events and concerts will also be brought into the fold.

Rep. Joe Atkins, a DFLer from Inver Grove Heights, has some concerns about the concerts.

"We've got taxpayer-funded facilities like the Xcel Center and the Target Center literally competing against one another to get concerts and sometimes they end up bidding the price all the way down to zero," Atkins said.

"So the taxpayers end up losing money and it just doesn't make sense," he concluded.

There is a clause in the legislative agreement that allows venues like Target Center and the Xcel Center to join the stadium authority.

It's something that will be discussed in a legislative committee hearing Thursday.

Meanwhile, Kelm-Helgen says the project is moving along, on schedule, and crews hope to break ground next month.

She also expressed extreme confidence that the NFL will bring the Super Bowl to the new crown jewel in Downtown Minneapolis in 2018.

(Copyright 2013 by KARE. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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