INFORUM.com | WDAZ.com

WDAY: The News Leader

Published March 04, 2012, 02:53 PM

City was divided on whether to build Metrodome

(WDAY TV) - There is still a long road ahead for the current Vikings Stadium bill. It must pass the House, Senate, and Minneapolis City Council, but it appears the city does not have enough votes to approve the package.

By: Jay Kolls, WDAY

(WDAY TV) - There is still a long road ahead for the current Vikings Stadium bill. It must pass the House, Senate, and Minneapolis City Council, but it appears the city does not have enough votes to approve the package.

The year was 1973. President Nixon was embroiled in Watergate, Vietnam war protests gripped the nation, and in Minneapolis, it was a city divided.

John Derus - Former Minneapolis City Council Member: "It was tough. A lot of close friends who weren't speaking to you. Family members who disagreed with you.”

Lou DeMars – Former Minneapolis City Council Member: "If they had fruit and stuff and garbage and tomatoes, they would have thrown them at us, but luckily they couldn't get their hands on any of it."

John Derus and Lou DeMars were on the city council in 1973 when the first Metrodome vote passed 10-3. The plan was to build the stadium with 54 million dollars in bonds. Public opposition was so strong a council meeting was moved to what is now the convention center and 2,000 people turned out.

Derus: "It was tough. It was a necktie party with the City Council as the guest of honor."

The Dome would have been built where the Target Center is today, but the Board of Taxation killed the bonding plan.

Fast forward to 1978, the Council tries again. Council president Lou Demars is depicted as "King Louie" for resurrecting the Metrodome plan.

It passed 8 to 4 with one abstention.

Demars: "When I voted I thought, well, this has been fun, but I will back doing what I used to do."

The Metrodome then opened in 1982. The two old political friends landed their prize catch and headed off to Mexico to celebrate. Their message to the city council forty years later: vote your conscience.

DeMars: "You do your job and you make the best judgments that you can and then you stand for re-election."

There was not state or county funding on the 1st Metrodome vote.

Tags: