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What is it About Roofs?

The proposed stadium deal for the Minnesota Twins does not include a roof. The Twins say that they aren't willing to pay for a roof. If a roof is to be included, they say that the state of Minnesota will have to foot the $100 million bill.

Stadium proponents urged the state's largest county to move rapidly for legislative approval to levy the additional 0.15 percent sales tax, which would run for as long as 30 years and amount to 3 cents for every $20 purchase in the county. The 42,000-seat stadium, which would include a $125 million contribution from the Twins and would not feature a retractable roof unless the state contributed the extra $100 million cost, would be completed by 2009 in the downtown Warehouse District.

A similar thing is going on in the push for a new stadium for the Vikings.

Two years ago, after evaluating three potential locales in Anoka County, county officials landed on the Blaine site, which has more than 400 acres ready for development. It stands just west of Interstate Hwy. 35W, bordered by 109th Avenue NE. to the north and Lexington Avenue to the east.

Soon after, the county proposed a fixed-roofed stadium, with a 300,000-square-foot medical clinic, a 250-room hotel, 1.3 million feet of corporate office space, 200 townhouses and 650,000 square feet of retail and entertainment facilities.

The total cost was estimated at $1.6 billion.

The county and city presented the plan to Gov. Tim Pawlenty's Stadium Screening Committee last year and, with the concept, the Anoka County Board approved a three-quarter-cent sales tax increase to help pay for it.

But in a meeting with city and county officials on April 14, Wilf was apparently indifferent to a roof, questioned the need for the clinic and told political leaders that he would examine the Lino Lakes land, 8 miles to the east of the Blaine site, near Interstate Hwy. 35E. ...

"Without a roof, you have nothing," Ryan said. "For this to work, you've got to get into the entertainment business."

With a roof, the stadium's year-round capabilities would allow it to play host to events such as the NCAA men's basketball Final Four and even a Super Bowl, said Novak.

Without a roof, the stadium's use would be limited to a handful of events besides Vikings games.

Why would the Vikes not want a roof? It'll keep the state bird out of the stadium and it does get a wee bit chilly up here in late fall and in the winter. Even so, putting on a roof is not economically justifiable.

I ate With Jay Weiner of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune over lunch two weekends ago. He told me that in his conversations with Twins officials, it would be cheaper for the Twins to buy coats/hotel rooms for every person who chose not attend a game because of the threat of inclement weather than it would be to put on a retractable roof. So in other words, the lost revenue associated with inclement weather isn't that great.