Council passes resolution calling for bird-safe stadium

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August 1, 2014
By: Sarah McKenzie
Sarah McKenzie

The City Council approved a resolution this morning calling for a bird-safe Vikings' stadium design.

The resolution comes as the Audubon Society has been circulating an online petition urging the Vikings and Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority (MSFA) to incorporate bird-safe glass into the stadium design.

Without the glass, thousands of migratory birds could be killed, according to the society. An estimated 40 percent of North American waterfowl navigate the Mississippi Flyway. The stadium's giant glass doors could confuse them.

The society has a goal of securing 65,000 signatures — the number of seats planned for the stadium. As of this morning, 45,630 signatures had been collected. 

The bird-safe glass is estimated to add $1.1 million to the stadium budget.

The Council's resolution notes that the city "is contributing approximately $150 million in local sales tax revenue to building the stadium, and the interests of the people of Minneapolis should be honored in the design of the stadium." 

The city's Stadium Implementation Committee approved a recommendation July 25, 2013 that required the design to comply with Minnesota Audubon Society guidelines.

The Council's resolution approved today doesn't have enforcement power, but Council members said they hope it adds to the chorus of voices calling for the Vikings and MSFA to reconsider their position.

The MSFA has issued a statement noting the stadium design and budget were completed before talks with the Audubon Society and changes in state guidelines related to bird-safe glass.

"One of the design goals was to create a building that was more connected and integrated with the community than the Metrodome had been," said MSFA Chair Michele Kelm-Helgen. "The ability to see in and out of the stadium was what led us to the design that included the ETFE roof and operable doors on the downtown facing wall."

Kelm-Helgen said stadium planners are following the Audubon Society's suggestions for lighting design. 

"While the stadium design and budget will not accommodate the fritted glass being proposed, we will adopt the Audubon Society's operational guidelines to protect birds used by the many downtown office and residential buildings that have large glass exteriors," she said.