2019 Legislative Session
Wilderness in the City written testimony, Senate Legacy Committee, 4/10/2019
On April 10, both the House and Senate Legacy Committees moved their respective Legacy Omnibus bills including $40 million for 53 projects throughout the Metropolitan Regional Parks System. Projects, which were never reviewed by the committees, include:
- capital expenditures for projects never vetted through any public process
- building maintenance sheds, administrative offices, wave pool reconstruction, roads, and other construction costs
- most projects will increase ongoing, yet unfunded, operations and maintenance expenses
- it is unknown what the impacts will be to the natural resource base of the parks system
- notably lacking from the project list are natural resource restoration projects, despite this being the publics top priority for these funds (source: DNR Report, 10th Anniversary Legacy, December 2018)
If approved by the full legislature, $40 million will flow into the metro regional parks mostly to build infrastructure, in contrast to the public’s top priority to take care of natural resources.
Wilderness in the City Public Testimony, 4/3/2019
HF653/SF2444 bill includes more than $40 million in Parks and Trails Legacy Fund appropriations for the Metropolitan Regional Parks System. The bill was heard in the House Legacy Finance Division hearing on 4/3. The Senate version was heard on Wed., 3/27. Public testifiers in both committees were cut short; both bills moved through respective committees.
Included in the $40 million appropriation is $1.2 million for undefined projects within Spring Lake Park Reserve, construction projects for maintenance sheds, administrative buildings, wave pool reconstruction, and significant additional capital development projects within this nature-based parks system. Notably lacking from the list are natural resource restoration projects.
Wilderness in the City has consistently expressed concerns regarding conflicts in the project approval process and spending for construction which has negatively impacted the natural resource base of these parks. We are advocating for changes to the project approval process, and a rebalance of spending to better meet citizens expectations for Legacy investments.