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Park Board moves forward on funding referendum

January 21, 2016 by Tom Evers

Last night at its regular meeting, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board of Commissioners voted to ask the City of Minneapolis to put a referendum on the 2016 ballot. The referendum would ask Minneapolis voters to increase property tax revenue for neighborhood parks.

The Minneapolis Parks Foundation supports the action taken by the Park Board because parks are the core of the Minneapolis identity and neighborhood parks, in particular, are woven into the fabric of our lives.

The referendum would ask Minneapolis taxpayers to increase funding over 20 years and be dedicated to maintaining, rehabilitating and investing in our city’s 157 neighborhood parks and 49 recreation centers. The maximum annual amount of the increased tax levy as a percentage of tax capacity is 0.03857%. In 2016 dollars, that translates into a $65 increase for a home valued at $190,000.

The Minneapolis Parks Foundation is committed to bringing private philanthropy to the Minneapolis Park System. Since the Park Board was founded in 1883, supporting the system has always been a public-private partnership. Neither the taxpayer nor the philanthropic community can shoulder the burden alone.

We believe that the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board takes its responsibility as stewards of the nation’s top park system very seriously. That effort shows: For three years in a row, Minneapolis Parks has been recognized as the best in the U.S. Of course, as international placemaker Gil Penalosa once said, “One sign that you are good is that you want to be even better.”

Learn More, Get Involved

We’ll be talking about this more as the process unfolds. In the meantime, we encourage you to learn more about the referendum and what it means for you as a parks user.

A great place to start is the Minneapolis Park Board’s Closing the Gap informational campaign. The yearlong effort educates the public about the needs in our neighborhood parks and how additional taxpayer funding will be used.

A citizen group dedicated to the effort has been formed. The best way to connect with them currently is through their Facebook page. We understand a website will be up soon and we will share the link when it is available.

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