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Park Expansion Higher Priority than Basic Services


The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board has authorized $400,000 in earnest money toward the purchase of a swath of Mississippi riverfront just north of downtown. A sale price will be negotiated in secret:

Peter Scherer [the seller] would not discuss specifics of the proposed sale price, but noted that the Minneapolis property has been appraised at more than $8 million.

Judd Rietkerk, park board planning director, said the purchase price will be made public once a purchase agreement has been signed, which could happen as soon as the end of this week. Until then, Rietkerk said he is keeping the figure confidential to avoid the prospect of another potential buyer swooping in with a higher bid.

I thought that Minneapolis didn’t have enough money to plow snow and keep cops on duty. But they can find a way to finance their vision to eliminate tax-paying commerce from the city’s riverfront.

Rietkerk said the details of the financing plan have not been worked out but potential sources include $1.7 million in acquisition funds from the Metropolitan Council and $750,000 that the park board received for selling the right-of-way under the new I-35W bridge.

Shovel tax receipts between levels of government and anything can get funded. All it seems to take is the will of the electeds. And they have more will for triumphal projects (that might eventually wear their names) than for the gritty practical obligations of running a city.

Last election season, there was a big hulabaloo about keeping an independent Park Board, in no small measure to keep the evil City Council from selling off park land to developers. That was sooo last year:

The final purchase cost may also be defrayed by the sale of some of non-riverfront portions of the property.

What’s the bottom line, the unseen cost we’ll never hear about as our Park Commissioners tout this great, green enhancement to the cityscape?

According to Scherer, the annual $325,000 property tax bill in Minneapolis is about twice as high as it suburban counterparts – though, he added, that was only one factor in the decision to sell.

Minnneapolis will be eliminating $325,000 in annual revenue. After dropping $400K up front on an eight-million-dollar obligation—and that’s just the downpayment on the whole project. We will have to pay untold more millions for demolition of the existing lumberyard and construction of park amenities.

Tell me again why we can’t afford adequate snow plowing.


It is the same with schools. We can't afford to pay teachers a decent salary but we have enough money to build a football field or send a marching band somewhere. We just then don't have money left to pay educators to teach what schools were created and mandated for: reading, writing and arithmetic.
We reap what we sow!
Overpaid and under-educated athletes and rock stars!