LET Put priority on four-year university

Recent articles in the Post-Bulletin regarding the proposed "sports dome" seem to pit organized sports against higher education. How should our community express the value of providing opportunities for its residents?

An attempt was made in 1998 when voters thought they approved a $20 million sales tax package to be used for higher education in Rochester. The money was then ballot-restricted to use for recreational projects. Now, with $11 million already spent on recreation projects, the Rochester Amateur Sports Commission wants the city to commit another $3.5 million toward what is, in reality, a dome-covered practice field at University Center Rochester.

Related city council discussions seem to focus on stalling the decision until after the legislative session is over. The worry is that other funding requests may be jeopardized by giving the impression we can afford luxuries such as sports domes. This is an important concern, yet the more serious consideration should be, has the 1998 voter gained what was expected for 2005? Has there been a substantial investment made in Rochester's higher ed opportunities resulting from the voter-approved sales tax package?

This should be the key consideration now. In 2005 we also have a commitment from St. Paul to developing a four-year university here in Rochester. It is even more reason to restore the voter approved intent to the 1998 higher ed sales tax package.

Heidi; Granstrom



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