Maple Grove seeks sales tax hike for community center upgrade

Maple Grove voters are being asked to approve a half-cent sales tax increase to help pay for planned renovations and expansion of the town’s community center.

The referendum is on the November 8 ballot.

Maple Grove needs $116 million to add new pools and more space for senior programs, expand space for events and banquets, and add a walking track and a third ice track. The project would also put a new roof on the 25-year-old facility and upgrade the heating and cooling systems.

The sales tax, which will only be in effect for up to 20 years, would raise about $90 million, according to the city. A University of Minnesota study found the tax would cost $38.40 per capita per year. Nonresidents would contribute $49.5 million, or 55%, of the cost, according to the study.

Maple Grove also plans to seek $18 million in state bonding and $8 million in sponsorships and donations, including contributions from sports associations.

If the sales tax is approved, Maple Grove will begin design work next year, with construction expected to begin in 2024.

Tim Harlow

Hudson

Free small library moves

The non-profit organization Little Free Library has moved from the city where it was founded, Hudson, Wis., to St. Paul, taking up offices at 2327 Wycliff St. in the creative enterprise area of ​​Midway.

The organization has a long-standing presence in the Twin Cities, with Minneapolis serving as an early proving ground in 2010.

“We are thrilled to join the vibrant St. Paul community,” executive director Greig Metzger said in a statement. The Little Free Library organization made a profit of $860,423 on revenue of $2.2 million in 2020, according to the latest available tax returns.

Founder Todd Bol built the first stick bookcase in 2009 using wood from an old garage door. When he died of cancer in 2018 at the age of 62, the nonprofit Little Free Library had 75,000 libraries in 88 countries.

Matt McKinney

Woodbury

The county will share renovation costs

Washington County Council approved a $4.5 million payment to the City of Woodbury to renovate the 20-year-old Central Park Building near Radio Drive that houses city departments, the county and community.

Renovations will include improved accessibility, larger multipurpose space, updates to the Lookout Ridge indoor playground, more space for art exhibits, new single-user restrooms, parking lot expansion, maintenance delayed and efforts to reduce energy consumption.

The county payment was necessary to move the project forward, and all remaining project costs will be covered by the Town of Woodbury.

The building houses the RH Stafford Library and the South Washington County School District’s Community Education offices.

Matt McKinney

Jill E. Washington