The City of Saint Paul proposed a “generational investment” for parks and streets, with its announcement December 27 that it will seek a 1 cent sales tax to invest in streets and “aging parks facilities.”
The proposal, which gained widespread support among most City Council members, would generate an estimated $984 million over 20 years.
Friends of the Parks and Trails of St. Paul and Ramsey County voiced support for the initiative, as did the Saint Paul Parks Conservancy and Como Friends. Our organization argued, in particular, for investments in parks downtown and on the city’s east side — based on the needs we are hearing from residents — and we requested that streets improvements prioritize multimodal options and safety for all road users.
Our statement reads: “Preserving and enhancing our natural surroundings is critical, creating and maintaining spaces that are aesthetically pleasing, emotionally enriching, and welcoming to all. We are interested, particularly, in park improvements on the City’s east side and in downtown Saint Paul, on essential maintenance of trees that have been increasingly taxed by drought and climate change, and on combating the growing problem of trash in our parks. We are proud to support the measure’s goal of creating a more livable, sustainable community for all and propose that the focus on street improvements emphasize bicycle infrastructure and pedestrian safety.”
Parks and Recreation Executive Director Andy Rodriguez announced the proposed sales tax at the December meeting of the Parks and Recreation Commission and later sought support from several of the parks advocacy and fundraising groups in St. Paul. Next steps include gaining legislative approval and then putting the question to St. Paul voters in a general election, according to the city’s announcement.
Friends of the Parks and Trails will keep our members apprised of ways to weigh in on the proposed sales tax. Please email Amy Gage, executive director, at firstname.lastname@example.org with any comments or questions. More detail is available in the Pioneer Press coverage by Frederick Melo.