MPLS. Logo

Blog

MPLS.

Breaking news in Minneapolis, right now

Six charts explaining Minneapolis' $800 million road and park plan

The Minneapolis City Council will take initial votes Wednesday on a massive, $800 million proposal to breath new life into the city's crumbling roads and parks.

The deal, reached earlier this week, is a once-in-a-generation committment and represents a new level of coordination between the city and its semi-independent Park Board. It follows months of volleying proposals, including the Park Board's push to have a referendum on park funding.

The council will deliberate over the plan, and its fine print, at Wednesday's committee of the whole meeting. They are expecting to vote on it at the full council meeting this Friday.

Below are several city and Park Board charts explaining, from the perspective of city and park officials, why the infusion is necessary and how to pay for it.

The Park Board, led by superintendent Jayne Miller, says its facilities are in dire need of repair. Many buildings were constructed in the 1960s and 1970s and require renovations or replacement.

The city's engineer, Steve Kotke, explained earlier this year that the city's roads and streets are deteriorating faster than they're being repaired. Without an extra $30 million a year, he said, they will deteriorate quickly.

Most of the city's streets were constructed or last reconstructed in the 1960s.

The $800 million, 20-year proposal to pay for it all relies heavily on property tax increases, as well as issuing debt. Cash balances and reserves will be tapped in the early years.

That proposal would drive up the city's property tax levy -- the dollar amount it collects in taxes -- by an average of .66 percent per year. That's on top of average 3.3 percent increases the city says are needed to maintain existing services.

It spikes in year five to bring revenues from special pre-1979 taxing districts, which now pay for neighborhoods and Target Center, into the city's general fund.

The deal is very complex, relying on a variety of funding sources -- particularly in the early years. The spreadsheet below illustrates where the money would come from.

Funding Sources Uses

Downtown park near U.S. Bank Stadium closer to $22M fundraising goal

Above: A rendering of the proposed park in Downtown East (Hargreaves Associates)

Fundraisers are making progress toward the goal of raising $22 million for the downtown Commons park.

The conservancy running the effort announced another $3 million haul this week, bringing them within $8 million of the project's finish line.

The fundraising effort will ultimately determine how robustly the park is developed, following action this January to tie elements of the project to the amount of private money raised.

In January, fundraisers announced that they were halfway to the goal. Since then, new money has come in from corporate, foundation and individual donors.

They include, according to a news release: "Valspar, U.S. Bank, The Pohlad Family Foundation, Julia Dayton, Jay and Page Cowles, The Edward J. Phillips Family Foundation, Piper Jaffray, CenturyLink, The David Wilson and Michael Peterman Family, and Toro."

The total amount raised is now nearly $14 million.

"The campaign’s steady success shows that businesses and philanthropists understand its value and transformational potential for downtown and our entire city," Mayor Betsy Hodges said in a statement.

The park is currently under construction, with a first phase expected to be completed late this summer.