Resolution considered for North Mankato sales tax extension

KEYC News Now at 10 Recording
Published: Jan. 17, 2023 at 10:14 PM CST
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MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) - The city of North Mankato approved a resolution to extend sales tax funds to build the Caswell Park Sports Complex during the monthly city council meeting this evening.

In its preliminary development, the 120,000 square-foot indoor facility would hold 6 tennis courts and 8 basketball courts.

“I think adding this on it’s just gonna bring more people to the community and more economic development economic impact to the region,” explained Caswell Park Director, Phil Tostenson.

During the evening’s city council meeting, North Mankato council members came together to raise support and concerns over a projected resolution.

For North Mankato city administrator Kevin McCann, time is of the essence for the 2022 legislative session.

“We want to get it in before the end of this month. They have like a deadline to just get all their bills in place by the end of this month,” stressed McCann.

But some North Mankato residents think otherwise:

“We need to slow this train down,” said North Mankato resident, Tom Hagen.

“It’s not a need for the city,” said North Mankato resident, Barb Church.

Critics of the project say that the funds should be used to fit the needs of the original referendum, like city infrastructure and regional parks, not just for the indoor recreational facility.

“Different people voted “yes” for different reasons,” expressed Church.

Now that the resolution is approved, the current projected cost is $21.6 million.

In 2016, voters approved a referendum of $15 million, but the legislature only approved $9 million. Now, lawmakers will draft a bill to find that additional $6 million through sales tax and bonding appropriation the Caswell indoor facility. The sales tax ends in 2038 or until the $6 million is raised.

“The project itself as still being deliberated. But it’s still, you know, we’re going to keep supporting this and moving it forward,” said McCann.

Tuesday’s approval does not include a final design of the sports facility or its maintenance. The project will be voted on by the North Mankato city council at a later date.