On April 6, Friends of the Parks and Trails joined a number of city workers and local journalists to watch the opening of St. Paul’s asphalt plant. Despite the day’s bitter wind and cold temperatures, Public Works Director Sean Kershaw called it “a sure sign of spring,” and a chance to fix damage from “the worst season for potholes we’ve ever had.”
Parks and Recreation Director Andy Rodriguez used the press conference as an opportunity to promote the proposed 1 cent sales tax, which would rebuild damaged streets and invest in a park system that the Trust for Public Land has deemed the second best in the nation — despite accessibility gaps that primarily affect people of color.
Among the city’s motivations for encouraging a 1-cent-sales-tax investment, which would help outdoors enthusiasts — especially those from beyond St. Paul — support the parks they use:
- Each year, more than 15 million visitors come to St. Paul from around the country, and many likely use the parks.
- More than 45% of visits to our regional parks and trails are from people who live outside St. Paul.
- Due to inadequate state funding, the city’s taxpayers largely foot the bill for park maintenance and improvements.
- Desired projects include a multipurpose community center on the East Side and a mixed-use River Learning Center, which would house National Park Service headquarters, at Crosby Farm Regional Park, by the Watergate Marina.
An estimated $246 million of the projected $984 million raised by the sales tax over a 20-year period would go to parks projects. The city is seeking legislative approval to put the measure on the ballot this November. Encourage your state senator and representative to support parks and trails, as well as the roads that lead to them!
Updates and other news
Saving trees at Midway Peace Park: Friends of the Parks and Trails has joined the Saint Paul Parks Conservancy, Union Park District Council and Friends of Midway Peace Park in working to enhance one of the city’s newest parks, which serves a number of immigrants and low-income residents at nearby Skyline Tower. Amy Gage, executive director of Friends of the Parks and Trails, wrote the city’s Neighborhood STAR Program board to encourage funding a $25,000 request to replant trees killed by drought and provide the park a water source.
Celebrate Earth day! Support the planet we call home at the Payne-Phalen Community Council‘s Earth Day in Six Languages event at Arlington Hills Community Center on Saturday, April 22. Our staff and board members will be tabling from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., with materials translated into Hmong and Spanish.