Parks and Libraries Referendum

The Duluth Parks and Recreation Department has lost full-time and seasonal employees due to budget cuts over the last few years. Because of the cuts, the maintenance of the parks and trails in the city has relied heavily on the work of volunteers.

“It’s a nice partnership. I can’t say enough how wonderful our volunteers are,” said Kathy Bergen, Parks and Recreation manager.

Even with the help of volunteers, some facilities in the parks have fallen in to disrepair and the programs offered through the parks system have all but disappeared. The Parks and Libraries Referendum on the Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2011 ballot looks to help repair the parks facilities and revive some of the programs that have been lost due to budget cuts.

To read the rest of the article go to http://www.d.umn.edu/writ/jour/lakevoice/?p=7518 and be more informed when you hit the polls tomorrow.

LakeVoice News is a weekly online publication produced by UMD journalism students. The stories are reported on and written by students, but the content is for the community. If you have a story idea or would like to submit photos you can email us at [email protected].

13 Comments

Ramos

about 9 years ago

The construction of long, elaborate skywalks all over town, however, continues unabated.

Tony D.

about 9 years ago

Why Mr. Ramos, hold your tongue! Don't you know we need skywalks to keep the DEVELOPERS happy, and as we know, in Duluth the desires of a single developer far outweigh the needs of 86,000 citizens. We need skywalks to link one empty Class A office space to all the other empty class A office space throughout downtown--besides, how in the world would Sheraton guests ever make it the entire block to the Casino without a Skywalk? So hush up you silly ol' cab-drivin' nut, you--you are hampering the type of progress that has made downtown Duluth the vital, thriving business and retail center it is today! 

Seriously, please get out and vote to fund our parks and libraries tomorrow.

wildknits

about 9 years ago

Again - it is only a Parks Referendum (worthy on it's own merits). The libraries may, or may not, benefit depending on the whim of the City Councilors that are seated at the time (seems they are supportive now of putting the "freed" up money towards the libraries).

I think it only benefits the cause to be clear about what the referendum really is about. Promising more than it can deliver just feeds a belief that politicians say one thing and do another. And, if in a year or two the funding dries up for libraries because there are other important needs in the city, voters who didn't really pay attention to the language will feel betrayed.

Claire

about 9 years ago

Hi people, I've been leafleting all afternoon outside the Duluth Main Library, and want to urge all Duluth voters to vote YES on the parks & rec referendum, which is on the backside of your ballot tomorrow. And I'd like to clear up some misinformation out there about why the language in this referendum does not specifically mention libraries: it's because state law does not allow for libraries to be funded by referendum. Mayor Ness, however, has pledged over and over and over to designate a significant portion of the Parks Fund to keeping branch libraries open in 2012 and to expand all library hours. Vote YES. Your children, your grandchildren, will thank you.

Dan D'Allaird

about 9 years ago

The referendum insulates parks funding, but not library funding, from future budget cuts. Passage of the referendum will allow the City Council to redirect money in the 2012 budget to the libraries. I'm not aware that anyone has been stating differently. Are you wildknits? 

Below is a pledge from five Councilors (plus Patrick Boyle who did not attend) to bring about that redirection of funds for 2012.

http://www.northlandsnewscenter.com/news/video/Councilors-Re-Affirm-Support-of-Referendum-133337243.html

Dan D'Allaird

about 9 years ago

Passage of the referendum will insulate only parks funding from future city budget cuts. It will allow the City Council and city administration to redirect money to libraries for 2012. I'm not aware that anyone has been stating differently. Are you wildknits? Of course library funding will have to hold its own in future budgets.

Below is a link to five Councilors (plus Patrick Boyle, who was not in attendance) pledging to do just that.

http://www.northlandsnewscenter.com/news/video/Councilors-Re-Affirm-Support-of-Referendum-133337243.html

Claire

about 9 years ago

I miswrote earlier, Mayor Ness will designate moneys from the city fund currently budgeted for parks facilities to keeping the branch libraries open in 2012 and also expand all the libraries's hours, if the Parks Referendum is passed. 

I was astonished yesterday, standing outside the Main Library for from 1-5 pm, how many people of all ages and from all socio-economic classes use the library! And it's common knowledge that library usage skyrockets during tough economic times. Libraries are more essential than ever. Like a young man said to me yesterday, if they close libraries and rec centers, the kids won't have anywhere to go, and they'll just get into trouble. 

Please vote yes on the parks referendum. Please vote.

emmadogs

about 9 years ago

Just voted 'Yes'; and lots of voter turnout already at my voting place (Pilgrim Congregational on 24th ave and 4th st)

wildknits

about 9 years ago

I believe in fully funding libraries (I'm a heavy user of public libraries myself -- more so when I had small children) and the parks. 

I would love to see the freed up funds dedicated to the library system. I was just pointing out that the referendum was on one issue, not two. And it is important to be clear about what exactly we are voting for in a time when many, many citizens are disenfranchised with the political system. 

On my way to vote in the next hour prior to heading to work - because not only is it my right, it is my responsibility.

Claire

about 9 years ago

Even if it were only about dedicating funds for the upkeep of our parks, without the secondary benefit of this freeing up city general funds for maintaining our libraries, I'd be voting YES. I love Duluth's parks, and value them enough to want to pay to keep them maintained.

Dan D'Allaird

about 9 years ago

Got it wildknits. I agree it is important to be clear about what we are voting for as confusion easily leads to cynicism and disengagement. I saw a surprisingly strong turnout at my polling place this morning.

jay

about 9 years ago

Parks plan passes! Sadly Duluth does not care about schools that much.

David

about 9 years ago

I just want to be clear:  I voted for libraries, even though the little box I filled it said Parks.  Libraries are my priority here, in the same way that I voted for the Legacy amendment for arts & culture, not state parks and wildlife.

This is a victory for both, and I hope that the library commitment is honored!

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