Conservative group rips local requests in stimulus package.

On the same day that the U.S. House is set to vote on the proposed economic stimulus package, the conservative Freedom Foundation of Minnesota has released its “Top 10 list of worst funding requests from Minnesota cities.” Here’s the list:

10) Shorewood $300,000 Tennis court improvement and rehab – A backhand shot from a prosperous southwestern suburb that should be vigorously returned by taxpayers.

9) St. Paul $2.1 million Western Avenue reconstruction “including bike facilities, traffic calming elements” and “public art” – An artful attempt to have patrons, a.k.a. taxpayers, underwrite the collaboration of St. Paul public works engineers and artists in creating fun sculptures, playful signs, “traffic calming elements” and bike facilities.

8) Burnsville $50,000 Greenhouse gas tracking program – How exactly does a city-run greenhouse gas tracking program stimulate the economy?

7) St. Cloud $150,000 Street sign upgrade program – The state has mandated that street sign lettering be 150 millimeters for capital letters and 113 millimeters for lower-case letters.3 A case of a city government asking the federal government for funds to comply with a state government mandate to replace signs that were already pointing the right way and doing the job.

6) Hanover $750,000 LED streetlight conversion – How many years worth of city electric bills will it take to pay off the $750,000 cost of changing the bulbs in this city with an estimated population of about 2,500?

5)St. Louis Park $3.5 million New water meters for St. Louis Park residents – The city wants to open the federal tap to give 12,800 water customers new water meters and install remote meter monitoring equipment.

4) Roseville $1.5 million New clubhouse and maintenance shop for city golf course – Roseville’s city-run Cedarholm Golf Course, a 9-hole par 3 course, lost over $800,000 between 2000 and 2007 (years inclusive).4 Why should all taxpayers be asked to “chip in” even more money at this losing enterprise?

3) Burnsville $550,000 Nicollet Commons water feature rehab – Burnsville expects taxpayers to open the federal floodgates for a $550,000 upgrade for the water fountains and sculptures in its highly touted town square style park.

2) Duluth $6 million Spirit Mountain snowmaking and maintenance facility – This multi-million dollar snow job attracted national media attention to Duluth.

1) St. Cloud $750,000 Skateboarding Park – Ever since a local entrepreneur closed the doors of his skate park in 2006, enthusiasts in St. Cloud have tried to raise a quarter of a million dollars to start building a huge state-of-the-art skate park “plaza.” The city even agreed to carry donors’ debt for four years, but donations–to use skateboarding terminology–continue to “grind” along well short of their goal. So the city has done a “kick turn” and asked taxpayers to foot the bill for the entire project. Taxpayers need to become familiar with another skateboard term and “grab” their wallets.

The group gets its information from the U.S. Mayors website.

The Freedom Foundation was created by Annette Meeks, Brian Sullivan, Tony Trimble and Vin Weber, all well known Republican activists in Minnesota.

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