February 28, 2024

Kamal Baker

Saint Paul City Council Passes $45.1 Million for Street, Parks and Recreation Center Projects Funded by City’s New 1% Sales Tax

Projects funded by Saint Paul’s new 1% sales tax approved by voters last fall marks the launch of once-in-a-generation investments in streets and parks infrastructure estimated to total $1 billion over the next two decades.

SAINT PAUL, MN – Today, the Saint Paul City Council passed $45.1 million for street, parks and recreation center projects funded by the City’s new 1% sales tax.  

“With support from our Council, legislative leaders, and voters, we're ready to improve the safety and sustainability of our roads, and invest in the nationally-acclaimed Parks amenities that our residents enjoy every day,” said Mayor Carter. “I am thrilled to finally transform this long-awaited investment into reality." 

“This funding was made possible by our Saint Paul state legislators, former and new City Councilmembers, and leadership and vision of our Mayor,” said Ward 4 Council President Mitra Jalali. “With this first major action as a Council, we are delivering on what residents trusted us to do, and making the first of a generational investment in streets and parks for our residents.” 

"We're pleased to take this significant step towards addressing the critical needs of our streets and parks,” said Ward 1 Councilmember Anika Bowie. “We're excited about the positive impact this funding will have on our city, including the replacement of artificial turf at Oxford Community Center and the renovation of Toni Stone Stadium at Dunning Park, and major investments in the qualify of our roads like Jackson Street on the initial list of projects, and Marshall Avenue in the near future. All are examples of how we're creating spaces that can be enjoyed by future generations of Saint Paul residents. This is a crucial moment for Saint Paul, and we're committed to making the most of this opportunity to create a safer, more vibrant city for everyone." 

“From streets to parks to fountains and playgrounds, these are investments our Ward has needed for so long,” said Ward 2 Councilmember Rebecca Noecker. “ I’m grateful for the hard work of everyone who got us here, but especially the Saint Paul voters who saw our aging infrastructure and voted for investing in Saint Paul.” 

“I am grateful for the trust and investment that Saint Paul has given to our Parks and Public Works departments to do this important work on our infrastructure,” said Ward 3 Councilmember Saura Jost. “I am excited to see that trust and investment reflected in an improved Grand Avenue that serves our Grand Avenue businesses, Macalester students, and neighbors for many years to come. During construction we ask our neighbors to keep these Grand Avenue businesses in mind and patronize them while you admire a new Grand Avenue being built.” 

“Today residents of Saint Paul will get to see critical investment in our streets and parks that are long overdue. I’m grateful for our Saint Paul delegation and for the previous council for leading this work,” said Ward 5 Council Vice President HwaJeong Kim. “Ward 5 will see funding for projects on Front Ave, Dale Street, various stormwater improvements, revitalized parks & recreation centers, and more. This funding will allow us to go beyond investments in deferred maintenance and will bring one of our community’s greatest assets to be much more climate resilience. This looks like funding to implement the 1st phase of converting the Como Zoo & Conservatory’s heating to geothermal. These investments will go a long way and I look forward to continuing this work.” 

"With the approval of these initial projects funded by our new 1% sales tax, we're taking big steps towards improving our city's infrastructure and parks spaces. I’m especially excited for what’s in store for the East Side and a new community center in Ward 6,” said Ward 6 Councilmember Nelsie Yang. “Today, we celebrate progress and the positive changes that come from planning and working together. This effort lays the groundwork for a city that remains a welcoming and vibrant place to live, now and for generations to come." 

“This is a big deal for the Eastside. One of the first priorities of our office was to ensure that Eastside, specifically Ward 7, saw the direct impacts of this new 1% sales tax now rather than later,” said Ward 7 Councilmember Cheniqua Johnson. “ Highwood Hills, in partnership with MNUFC and The Toro Foundation, will see their fields renovated. Dayton’s Bluff Recreation Center will receive a new HVAC system. Battle Creek Recreation Center will be able to repair their parking lot. Conway Recreation center will also see splash pad upgrades and basketball court renovations. In addition, we will see, much needed, reconstruction work on Earl, Minnehaha to Burns and more.  As a Council Member, I remain dedicated to ensuring that Eastside remains centered in all City-wide investment projects. This is just the beginning!” 

Saint Paul Parks & Recreation projects included in RES PH 24-3 total $31.4 million intended to address long-deferred maintenance of parks buildings, athletic fields, and downtown parks, as well as design work for planned citywide assets including the East Side Community Center and the River Balcony. Highlights includes:  

  • $10.4 million to revitalize fields, play areas, courts, parking lots, trails, water features and sidewalks across the parks system;  
  • $10.4 million for critical deferred capital maintenance needs including HVAC, roofs, doors, windows, gyms, lighting and building/park needs;  
  • $7 million for implementing the first phase of Como Park Zoo and Conservatory to geothermal;  
  • $3.2 million to revitalize downtown parks 
  • $410,000 to advance design work for the River Learning Center, River Balcony, park/green space at Hillcrest and other projects.  

View the full list of Parks and Recreation projects funded through RES PH 24-3 here 

RES PH 24-1 totaling $13.7 million will leverage 1% sales tax funding to support the Department of Public Works improvements of Grand Avenue which include the Grand Avenue - Snelling to Fairview Project, Grand at Fairview Signal Project and the Grand/Snelling Intersection Improvement Project.  

In 2023, Saint Paul voters approved a 1.00% increase to the local option sales tax to be used for repairs and improvements to streets, bridges, parks and recreational facilities within the city. The tax will generate nearly $1 billion over 20 years, of which $738 million of funds must go to streets and $246 million for parks.  

The 1% local option sales and use tax will be implemented April 1, 2024. Learn more at 


Last Edited: March 6, 2024