Edina, Minn., Nov. 9, 2022 – Edina residents approved a half-percent sales tax referendum Tuesday, Nov. 8, that will allow the City to invest $39.3 million in major improvements at Fred Richards Park and Braemar Park and Arena.
Under the plan, Braemar and Fred Richards parks will receive a wide range of amenities and improvements, including new courts, trails, playgrounds, natural habitat restoration and more. Additionally, Braemar Area will receive critical repairs and upgrades that will help ensure that it remains fully operational and more accessible for many years to come.
The parks and arena investment plan was presented in two ballot questions. Question One requested $21.6 million to invest in a variety of updates at Braemar Park and critical repairs at Braemar Arena. Question Two sought $17.7 million to convert the shuttered Fred Richards Executive Golf Course into a multi-faceted park.
Question One was approved by 16,646 votes to 11,435 votes and Question Two was approved by 14,605 votes to 13,224 votes. All voting results are unofficial.
“We’re excited to move forward with these projects to provide more recreation opportunities and enhance the quality of life for Edina residents,” said City Manager Scott Neal.
The sales tax will spread the tax impact of the investment among residents and nonresidents who make purchases in Edina. Approximately 54 percent of the sales tax increase will be paid by nonresidents, according to a newly updated analysis by the University of Minnesota.
City leaders began gathering input from residents in 2016 regarding the needs of Fred Richards and Braemar parks. Feedback from community meetings and surveys helped shape the investment plan, and the City successfully received legislative approval in 2021 to propose a half-percent sales tax to voters to finance it.
“This is the result of lots of hard work by Edina residents to design and invest in a plan to expand and improve our parks and recreation system,” said Parks & Recreation Director Perry Vetter. “I appreciate everyone who participated in this process.”
The sales tax takes effect in 2023 and will expire in 19 years. If the bonds for the projects are paid off before then, the sales tax will expire earlier. Design work for the parks projects will begin in the coming weeks and months.
In 2023, the City plans to seek legislative approval to use the same 19-year, half-percent sales tax to fund an additional $25.3 million for the expansion of Braemar Arena. The expansion would demolish the South Rink and build two new ice rinks, resulting in four indoor rinks and one outdoor seasonal rink. The expansion would also include a safe drop-off and pick-up area, a larger lobby and more parking.
For more information, visit EdinaAtPlay.org or contact Communications Director Jennifer Bennerotte at 952-833-9520 or [email protected]