Metro cities, counties dispute division of Legacy Funds 26 Mar 12

Carver County and nine other metro counties and cities with regional parks are at odds with greater Minnesota over how money from the Legacy Fund should be dispersed.

The Parks and Trails Legacy Fund raises about $39 million annually through a sales tax add-on, and although 64 percent of that money comes from the seven-county metro area, only 40 percent is returned to the area, with the rest sent to outstate parks and trails.

Six identical resolutions have recently been passed by metro councils, including Carver County, noting that metro area parks get four times as many visitors as those in greater Minnesota. The resolution said the decision about where the money goes needs to acknowledge populations, where the funds are being collected and where Minnesotans are spending their recreational time.

The Greater Minnesota Regional Parks and Trails Coalition argues the rest of Minnesota deserves additional funding. Barry Wendorf, communications director for the group, tells the Star Tribune greater Minnesota feels underserved and underfunded, and wants to build trails and parks to connect with the successful large metro parks.