May 16, 2011
The Minnesota Vikings and Ramsey County are rushing to the altar. Their union, if they win the blessings of state lawmakers, would result in a $1.1 billion stadium complex at a shuttered ammunition plant in Arden Hills.
No one knows whether a deal will get done before the regular legislative session adjourns Monday — or during a special session or next year or not at all. And no one knows whether certain forces in Minneapolis will succeed in thwarting Ramsey County’s dalliance with the Vikings.
All the attention on the Arden Hills site caught some fans by surprise. We’re hearing a lot of talk about the TCAAP (Twin Cities Army Ammunition Plant) and the surrounding roads that need so much work. On Wednesday, the state estimated that bringing the highways and feeder routes up to snuff would cost more than $130 million.
With all this focus on the old ammo plant, I thought it would be a good time to tour the area and share some background and photos.
First of all, the place is huge. The entire TCAAP site is nearly 2,400 acres (bigger than all of downtown Minneapolis), though the stadium project would take up only 260 acres.
The U.S. military opened opened the plant in 1941 to manufacture small-caliber ammunition and projectiles for bigger guns. By the late 1950s, the plant was turned over to private industry. Alliant Techsystems operated the complex until 2004.