SSP readies for parks bonding referendum

After nine years of waiting, including two years of studies, surveys, open houses and informational videos, South St. Paul is putting its case for $10 million in bonding for parks and recreation improvements to the final test.

South St. Paul will hold a public referendum Tuesday, Feb. 11, to let residents vote whether the city should issue $10.3 million in bonding to complete the long-delayed plans for Kaposia Landing and McMorrow Field as well as facility improvements at Wakota Arena. A passing vote Feb. 11 would give the city its first successful parks referendum since 1990; a referendum to raise funds for South St. Paul’s outdoor pools was voted down in 2001, leading to the closure of McLaine Pool at Lorraine Park.

City staff estimate the bond issuance would cost a homeowner with a property value of $150,000 around $8.18 per month, for a total increase of $98.23 in the city portion of annual property taxes.

A long-term vision

The largest single share of the park funds - $5.5 million - would be used to complete a master development plan for Kaposia Landing the city originally approved in 2005. The 87-acre park was originally a landfill site the city acquired in 2000 for $1 million, with the intention of developing the grounds over time.

The most notable change at Kaposia Landing, which is located along the Mississippi River, would be the addition of four full-sized softball fields, as well as one baseball field. Other developments include a second off-leash dog park, an outdoor performance venue, a new picnic area and additional parking.

Given the new softball and baseball fields at Kaposia Landing, the city would then replace the four existing softball fields and tennis court at McMorrow Field with four soccer fields and a football field. McMorrow Field, which is just north of the municipal airport, would also receive an enlarged play area for young children as well as off-street parking, at a total estimated cost of $2.4 million.

The remaining $2.2 million would go toward mechanical upgrades and remodeling at Wakota Arena. The facility’s first rink was built 50 years ago, and the second one was added in 1997. The money would be used to expand locker rooms and bathrooms, as well as adding a modern cooling system for both ice sheets.

Preparing to vote

All regular polling locations will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Feb. 11. Residents can access a sample ballot and additional information about the referendum and park designs on the city’s website at www.southstpaul.org.

For additional information, residents are encouraged to call City Clerk Christy Wilcox at 651-554-3200.

Luke Reiter can be reached at lreiter@lillienews.com or at 651-748-7815.

 

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