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Businessmen have plan to keep North Stars in town

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. - A group of Bloomington businessmen have a plan to raise $15-million to prevent the Minnesota North Stars from moving to California, the owner of the Thunderbird Hotel said Tuesday. Rodney Wallace said the city of Bloomington would raise the money in a bond issue that would be paid off by a tax on food and liquor at city hotels and restaurants.

Gordon and George Gund, owners of the North Stars, have said they need a promise of $15-million in improvements to Bloomington-based Met Center by Feb. 21 or they will move the team to California. The Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission, which owns Met Center, has said it does not have the money.

Wallace said the business group is urging the commission to give the arena to the city of Bloomington for the plan to work. Gov. Rudy Perpich said he has been arranging meetings between the interested groups.

Bill Lester, executive director of the commission, told KSTP that "there may be a way to make this work." But Lester said he doubts the plan could be carried out by Feb. 21.

Even if the property can be transferred to Bloomington and the $15 million can be raised, the Gunds may not go along with the plan, Wallace said. The North Stars owners have said they want corporate support for at least 6,000 more season tickets.