Officials reveal spending plan for "Arch grounds" tax -

Officials reveal spending plan for "Arch grounds" tax

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By Sarah Heath By Sarah Heath
By Sarah Heath By Sarah Heath
By Sarah Heath By Sarah Heath

( -- It’s been almost two weeks since voters passed Proposition P, a sales tax increase to overhaul the Arch grounds, build trails and maintain parks. On Tuesday, voters found out exactly how and where the money will be spent.

CityArchRiver 2015 Foundation revealed plans to enhance the Arch experience and to renovate the road and walkway under the Arch.

“All of us are moving forward together to complete these transformative changes by October 28, 2015, and enhance the Arch experience for everyone,” said Walter Metcalfe, chairman of CityArchRiver 2015 Foundation. “Over half of the components of this project are now fully funded and construction is starting this year.”

Officials in St. Louis City and St. Louis County will have to spend $31 million a year to improve parks and trails.

St. Louis City’s annual parks budget goes up about 50 percent from $5 million a year to $7.5 million. That money is marked to fix handicapped-accessible restrooms, playgrounds, athletic fields and more.

St. Louis County Parks Department will get about $6 million more annually starting next year. Money will also be dolled up to county municipalities to the tune of about $4 million a year where there’s also a long list of needs.

Nearly $9 million a year will go to the Arch grounds. Officials hope to borrow $90 million in bonds toward $380 million Arch grounds renovations.

The regional trails district, Great Rivers Greenway’s $10 million annual budget will nearly double.

Prop P critics are concerned this money won’t actually go to parks. In St. Louis City, the money can’t go anywhere else besides the parks and Arch grounds. St. Louis County doesn’t have the same earmark, but officials say the money will go where it’s intended.


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