Bemidji, MN, tax raises $9.8 million for parks, trails
A half-cent sales tax in Bemidji, Minnesota, has generated $9.8 million for parks and trails over the past six years, Bemidji Finance Director Ron Eischens recently told the Bemidji Pioneer newspaper.
In 2002, city residents approved a half-cent sales tax to pay for parks and trails improvements. The state Legislature approved the tax in 2005 and it took effect January 1, 2006. By a 44-vote margin in November 2006, voters approved an extension of the tax to fund the construction of the Sanford Center and state lawmakers OK'd that tax, too, the newspaper reported.
Since the initial tax was implemented, the city has spent $9.3 million on parks and trail projects, including $3.3 million renovating Diamond Point Park. The city won an award of excellence from the Minnesota Recreation and Parks Association.
The city has $1 million for future improvements at North Country Park, Cameron Park, Paul Bunyan/Library Park and the Clausen Avenue Trail.
Marcia Larson, director for the city's Parks and Recreation Department, said there's "no way we would have the park and trail system we do (without the tax). The use has skyrocketed."
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