Out of bounds: “The notion of a stadium so close to this historic building is not comforting…”

There are concerns now being raised about the proposed locations for a new stadium for the Minnesota Vikings:

Two proposed new stadium sites for the Minnesota Vikings professional football team, especially one only 300 feet from the Catholic Basilica of St. Mary, have the church’s rector “very concerned.”

“I can’t imagine how our thousands of Sunday worshippers would be able to compete with the more than 60,000 people who attend a Vikings game – there simply isn’t that much room in this area and the traffic, congestion, tailgating and parking issues alone could be disastrous for our Sunday worship schedule,” Fr. John Bauer said at a Jan. 10 press conference.

In a Jan. 9 letter to members and friends of the basilica community, the rector said that the congregation of 6,300 households comes from throughout the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area for weekend Masses and weekday programs. Thousands of visitors also attend liturgies, concerts, outreach support, lectures, classes and other events.

Parking for present events is already challenging, he said, and traffic for the construction and operation of the stadium and event center would adversely affect the basilica’s ability to continue its programs.

Gov. Mark Dayton and city officials are collecting feedback and proposals for stadium sites for a 48-hour period ending Jan. 12, the archdiocesan newspaper The Catholic Spirit reports.

A proposed site on Linden Avenue is two blocks from the basilica, while a site at the Farmer’s Market is also a concern to the rector.

The stadium site could also affect the historic buildings of the basilica and its school, which are sites on the National Historic Register.

“The basilica is currently a beacon on the skyline, and the notion of a major stadium so close to this historic building is not comforting,” Fr. Bauer said.

The construction could cause additional structural damage to the historic buildings and interfere with ongoing long-term maintenance efforts.

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