Legacy bill goes with commission’s parks recommendations

From Elizabeth Dunbar:

Parks in the Twin Cities metro area won’t get a bigger piece of the Legacy bill’s parks pie, but lawmakers decided the metro should get more outdoors money.

The conference committee report on the Legacy bill allocates 40 percent of the parks money to state parks, 40 percent to metro parks and 20 percent to regional parks in greater Minnesota. The distribution was recommended by a commission appointed to solve a perennial dispute between metro and rural lawmakers over where the parks money should go.

The Senate version of the bill adopted those recommendations, but the House version gave 43 percent to metro parks. As part of a compromise, metro parks will get 40 percent of the parks money, but they will also get $6.3 million from the Outdoor Heritage Fund to restore habitat within metropolitan regional park system.

The money was not part of the Lessard Sams Outdoor Heritage Council’s recommendations. The council reviewed a similar proposal from metro parks for habitat projects, but it received low marks.

In the arts portion of the bill, county fairs will not receive any Legacy money. County fairs received $2.8 million in the last two years for arts and cultural heritage programs. Lawmakers decided to give county fairs $2 million in the agriculture spending bill instead.

Overall the bill allocates $496 million in money raised from the extra three-eighths of 1 percent added to the sales tax by voters in 2008. The House and Senate still must vote on the final conference committee package.

UPDATE: The House has passed the bill 77-57.

UPDATE AT 6:30P: The Senate passed the bill.

Minnesota Public Radio is slated to receive $3 million in the next two years from the Legacy’s Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.