Baseball Tax a Hit for Youth Programs

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Photo: Photo by Brandt Williams, MPR NewsQ.org

The residents of Minneapolis have found an intriguing way to expand youth programs: Build a major league baseball stadium.

A 0.15 percent county sales tax enacted in 2006 to help fund the construction of Target Field for the Minnesota Twins is also funding new and improved youth soccer fields and extended library hours, according to Hennepin County. That’s because the county can use tax revenue that is not needed for stadium bond payments for libraries and youth-related facilities.

In December, the county awarded $2.5 million for 18 projects through the Youth Sports Program capital grants. The grants are being used to create other soccer fields, a softball field and a football field. Ironically, several baseball fields are being converted to soccer fields.

The money has also enabled the Hennepin County Library system to keep 13 libraries open on Sundays year-round.

The county expects to award another round of grants this year.