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Duluth voters approve tax increase for parks and rec

Duluth parks will see some improvements now that voters in the city approved a property tax increase that will be dedicated for park and recreation programs.

The Duluth News Tribune said voters agreed to tax themselves an additional $2.6 million, starting next year. For the average home priced at $158,000, that’s about $60 a year.

Park funding in the city has been cut during the recent state and local budget crises, down from $2.5 million a year in 2003 to $800,000 a year now. The city can now use the $800,000 that had been previously budgeted for parks next year for library and health care funding.

Mayor Don Ness says at least $250,000 of the new money will go for after-school and summer youth programs.

With the new influx, the city will be thoughtful in its parks spending, said Kathy Bergen, the Parks and Recreation manager.

“We’re not trying to be extravagant,” Bergen said. “It’s improving on basic infrastructure.” And where the funding allows the department to “add a little,” it will, she said.

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