Yes, a variety of local groups have shared their views and ideas, including families, civic groups, businesses, parents, and City staff. The City conducted meetings with various community groups who use our parks and recreational facilities, including senior residents, art groups, teenagers, and athletic associations. Feedback from residents continues to shape the plan and will be critical as the City moves forward with planning.
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As our City has grown, there has been an increased demand of our parks and recreation system. Reinvesting in our City's parks, trails, and recreational facilities will help us continue to provide for our residents, protect property values, enhance the natural environment, attract new residents, and draw visitors to local businesses, which helps support the local economy. The Parks Referendum is being presented as a direct response to residents’ requests for improvements to our parks system. After thorough research and public input, the proposed projects have been identified as priorities by the community.
After gathering valuable input from residents and parks and recreation system users over the last two years, the City has developed a two-question Parks Referendum plan, Question 1 asks residents to consider an investment of $66,750,000 to fund priorities outlined by the community. The investment plan would include:
Additionally, Question 2 asks residents to consider an investment of an additional $6,500,000 to fund the replacement of the Redwood Community Pool and associated building. Question 2 can only pass if Question 1 passes.
Apple Valley residents played a major role in shaping this investment plan. Residents were asked for their input to help establish priorities over the course of the last two years through meetings, social pinpoint comments, emails, surveys, etc. The Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee (PRAC) also played a significant role in the community engagement process. Results from two statistically accurate community phone surveys helped the PRAC narrow down options and priorities. Since then, we have continued to listen to feedback and views through events, surveys, and other activities. Based on this feedback, City staff developed a long-term plan to invest in our parks and recreation system and the services it supports.
If the referendum is successful, the City will likely sell the bonds over a three- to four-year period. This will mean that the increase in property tax impact will also be spread over three to four years.
The City may sell approximately 25% or 33% of the bonds in 2024, 2025, 2026, and/or 2027. Once bonds are sold in a particular year, they will not impact your property taxes until the following year. As an example, if the City sells bonds for four consecutive years beginning in 2024 (2024, 2025, 2026, and 2027) the increase in property tax impact would begin in 2025 and continue for four consecutive years (2025, 2026, 2027, and 2028) and then remain constant for the remainder of the 20-year period until the bonds are retired.
Question 1 Example
Tax impact is estimated based on certain assumptions, including a median value home valuation of $352,500 and an estimated issuance of $66,750,000 in general obligation bonds with repayment period of 20 years and estimated bond rates as of June 30, 2023.
Question 2 Example
Tax impact is estimated based on certain assumptions, including a median value home valuation of $352,500 and an estimated issuance of $6,500,000 in general obligation bonds with a repayment period of 20 years and estimated bond rates as of June 30, 2023.
If the referendum passes, property owners may be eligible from the State of Minnesota for a “Special Refund” of their property tax payments if they increase over a certain percentage.
Under state current law, the special refund requirements include:
Program requirements are subject to change by the state. The refund is claimed on the MN Homestead Credit Refund form M1PR, it can be completed and filed electronically directly on the Department of Revenue website.
By law, any public project with a value greater than $175,000 must be bid and awarded to the lowest responsible bidder. The City will use a process that informs and encourages local bidders, while still respecting the state law. If local contractors are the low bidders, the City will use local contractors.
The longer we wait to address the issues, the more our needs are likely to grow, and the longer residents will have to wait for services and amenities that they have been asking for. Further, it's likely that construction costs will continue to increase each year. Ultimately, voters in Apple Valley will decide whether now is the right time to make these investments.
Cities do not typically invest in developing detailed design plans until funding for a project has been authorized. If the Parks Referendum question(s) pass, more detailed drawings will be developed and available for public review, comment, and input before plans become final.
If the referendum passes, your property taxes will increase for a period of 20 years depending on your property value. Anticipated property tax impacts for each question are as follows:
Tax impact is estimated based on certain assumptions, including estimated issuance of $66,750,000 and $6,500,000 respectively in general obligation bonds with a repayment period of 20 years and estimated bond rates as of 6/30/2023.
The Parks Referendum, if passed, will be the primary financial source for these improvement projects. The City will leverage referendum dollars to try and attract additional dollars through grant opportunities at the regional, state, and federal levels. Other financial contributions may include sponsorship and donations from local organizations and/or businesses.
As a part of Question 1, plans include creating a four (4) field youth baseball/softball complex behind the Hayes Community Center by changing the configuration of four (4) existing fields that already exist. Reconfiguring the fields into a wheel-style layout is desired by youth baseball/softball to improve the experience of those players and spectators. The fields would have covered dugouts, scoreboards, irrigated turf, and approximately 240-foot outfield fences. They would be lighted for evening games/practice, which would increase the number of games/practices that can be played without purchasing more land or building more fields.
The State Legislature passed Amara's law in 2023. The law places a ban on the non-essential use of poly-fluoroalkyl (PFAS) beginning in 2032. Based on the fact that most, if not all, synthetic turf contains PFAS, the City isn’t interested in installing a product that is planned to be banned in the near future. If a synthetic turf product is proven to not contain PFAS the city would consider the product. Installing synthetic turf is advantageous to youth baseball/softball to allow for earlier access in the spring, more games to be played, fewer cancellations because of weather conditions, and less regular maintenance by park maintenance crews.
Question 1 of the Parks Referendum would provide funding for an inclusive playground, splash pad, a new building/shelter with restrooms, and new courts for basketball, volleyball, tennis, pickleball, ecuavoley, and other improvements. If Question 1 passes the existing community pool and building will be removed. Question 2 allows voters to consider the replacement of the community pool and pool building. If Questions 1 and 2 pass, Redwood Park would have an inclusive playground, a new community pool, a new building/shelter supporting the inclusive playground and community pool, and new courts for basketball, volleyball, tennis, pickleball, ecuavoley, and other improvements.
The City of Apple Valley partners with the Apple Valley Arts Foundation to host the popular Music in Kelley Park concert series. The popularity of the concert series supports a slightly larger venue that will improve the experience of both the performers and concertgoers. With an improved Kelley Park, it is envisioned that additional concerts and events such as festivals, movies in the park, community theatre opportunities, private party rentals, etc., can take place.
If the Parks Referendum passes, we plan to make many improvements that will benefit the environment we all live in. We will have the opportunity to:
If the Parks Referendum passes, City leaders will work to develop specific plans for each of the proposed projects. There will be public meetings scheduled for residents and neighbors to review plans before making final decisions. Improvements will likely begin in the spring of 2024 on some of the smaller projects (i.e. playgrounds, courts, trails). Some of the larger projects (Community Center, Aquatic Center, Redwood, Kelley) would take more time to plan, bid, and hire contractors. Overall, it will take three to five years to finish all the proposed projects.
If the Parks Referendum isn't approved, City leaders would consider various options, including an increase in property taxes, to support needed projects that are focused on safety. Many of the projects being proposed would not happen, or there would be significant delays in making improvements. City Council members believe that residents should have the opportunity to decide whether a Parks Referendum is the best way to fund these improvement projects.