Passage of the constitutional amendment by Minnesota voters at the November 2008 general election to raise the state sales tax has given Anoka County in metropolitan Minneapolis a consistent stream of funds for regional park improvements.

This year the county has received $1.3 million in park and trail legacy grants, the second year of the program which is administered by the Metropolitan Council from a portion of the state sales tax increase proceeds, ABC Newspapers reported.

According to John VonDeLinde, Anoka County parks and recreation director, the county is assured of parks and legacy grant funding each year under a formula.

Among the improvements are these:

  • Rice Creek Chain of Lakes Regional Park campground improvements, $196,000. According to VonDeLinde, the project will upgrade electrical outlets at the campgrounds to cater to the larger recreation vehicles (RVs).  “The existing outlets no longer adequately serve the bigger RVs,” VonDeLinde said. “The electrical lines are old.”   Tables and grills in the campgrounds will also be replaced with the grant dollars, he said  “The campgrounds are 35 years old and need some work,” VonDeLinde said.
  • Bunker Hills campground expansion, $100,000. This project to add 200 new campsites at Bunker Hills Regional Park is nearing completion, according to VonDeLinde.  In fact, plans are to open the new sites on a trial basis before the camping season ends in the fall, VonDeLinde said. And the new campsites, which will bring the number in Bunker Hills Regional Park to 68, will also have the upgraded electrical ampage for the larger RVs, he said. “All the campsites at this park had been reserved for the summer before Memorial Day,” he said.