Projects seeking sales tax funding aim to raise additional funds

A compilation of KEYC’s stories related to projects seeking sales tax funding

Projects seeking sales tax funding aim to raise additional funds

MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) - A new arena, an upgraded pool, new facilities and more.

Several Mankato projects have applied for a portion of up to $47 million in sales tax funding.

They’ve told KEYC about the need for more space or safer facilities.

“You know, in our in-house levels, anywhere between 60-70 plus kids on the ice at the same time," Mankato Area Hockey Association President Adam Arnoldy told KEYC in part earlier this month.

Related: Mankato Area Hockey Association seeks $9 million in sales tax funding for new arena

For some of these projects, there's still fundraising to do after they potentially receive that money.

The Mankato Area Hockey Association plans to utilize corporate fundraising, private fundraising and grants to raise $9 million.

The YMCA plans to undergo a feasibility study to determine how they will raise $21 million.

The Mankato Area Youth Baseball Association plans to raise $20,000 a year over a five to ten year period through sponsorships and events during their season.

For other organizations who are still early on in the process for applying for funding, such as the Mankato Area Pickleball Association, their fundraising plan is not yet clear.

According to Nancy Zallek, the president and CEO of the Mankato Area Foundation, and Barb Kaus, the CEO of Greater Mankato Area United Way, education is the key to fundraising.

They’re going to need to go out, again like I said, educate, talk with donors, talk with other partners, both public and private so that they can have a jump start as they’re introducing their project into the community.
Nancy Zallek

That education includes informing the local community on why they think those updates are necessary.

According to Zallek, the Mankato community has a history of donating to large projects.

Though it wasn’t seeking similar sales tax funding when it was built, Zallek used the Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota as an example.

“The children’s museum was one of those projects that came forward from a group of educators who were founders, and it was an idea, and I think they spent a lot of time just kind of dreaming about what it could be if we had a children’s museum,” she said.

Zallek said those involved created a vision for what the museum would look like.

“They brought forward a very generous donor, again, somebody who was a champion for the cause stepped forward at the beginning,” she said.

Zallek said these projects should follow a similar tactic if they want to raise additional money.

“There was a lot of educating that had to happen with that, but boy when people understood what it could mean to the community, they sure jumped on the bandwagon with that one," she said.

Kaus said the projects will resonate with different people.

“I believe they’ll be embraced, and those things will happen,” she said.

With multiple projects seeking the funding, some organizations have considered applying for money but turned down the option to allow others to have a chance at it.

That has been the case with Mankato-North Mankato Youth Football.

“It works out pretty good. It allows us to keep our dues very affordable, and it enables some of the other groups possibly to go after that sales tax dollar," the organization’s executive director, Dennis Hood told KEYC earlier this month.

In order to determine sales tax funding eligibility at all, the Mankato City Council requires feasibility reports.

Many of the organizations that are seeking funding will have to wait until their initial feasibility studies are completed in the next couple of months before they can move on to the next part of their project.

As KEYC previously reported, according to city manager Patrick Hentges, local option sales tax use can include things like construction and improvements to flood control. It can also include regional public safety improvements and water quality improvement projects in Blue Earth and Nicollet Counties.

“We do have a fair amount of ability to fund some fairly large–scale projects and a lot of small projects that ultimately, you know, some of our facilities need updating, and modernization and expansion and so those are the things we’re evaluating right now," said Hentges in June.

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