Sen. Sparks Participates in Capital Investment Tour of Southeast Minnesota: Leaders from City of Austin meet with Sen. Sparks to discuss local jobs projects

St. Paul, Minn. – Members of the Minnesota Senate Capital Investment Committee are visiting southeast Minnesota this week to learn about requests from local officials for state bonding dollars.

Senator Dan Sparks (DFL-Austin), a member of the committee, participated in meetings Monday, Feb. 12 with Austin Mayor Tom Stiehm and City Administrator Craig Clark to discuss two projects that will improve quality of life for Austin residents:

1) The creation of a recreational area near Ramsey Mill Pond (Mower County’s largest body of water) financed by one-time use of $4 million in state general obligation bonds.

2) The creation of a portage and trailhead at the historic site of Austin’s first structure, a former mill on the Cedar River at 4th Avenue Northeast, financed by one-time use of $500,000 in state general obligation bonds.

“One of my jobs as a state senator is to make sure our public assets are safe, strong, and provide a good return on investment to Minnesota taxpayers,” said Sen. Sparks. “As a member of the Capital Investment Committee, I help the Legislature do its due diligence on hundreds of requests and ultimately decide which projects receive funding. I am pleased to partner with our outstanding local officials to advocate for projects that benefit the people of Austin and surrounding region.”

Both projects in Austin offer regional benefits as well as the potential to invigorate the local economy in the following ways:

  • Boost local tax revenue by attracting visitors and tourists.
  • Improve employee recruitment and retention by providing a great quality of life.
  • Increase adjacent property values.
  • Save money on health care costs by providing options for healthy, active lifestyles.

Project partners include the City of Austin; Vision 2020 Waterways and Bike-Walk Trails committees; the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources; Cedar River Watershed District; and the Mower County Soil and Water Conservation District. I am honored to work with you and unite around these important projects for our people.

Sen. Dan Sparks stands with Austin Mayor Tom Stiehm and City Administrator Craig Clark during a recent bonding tour.
Sen. Dan Sparks stands with Austin Mayor Tom Stiehm and City Administrator Craig Clark during a recent bonding tour.

Traditionally, lawmakers focus on these construction and jobs projects during the second year of a biennium. Bonding bills require three-fifths of support from each legislative body to pass (81 representatives and 41 senators), meaning that DFLers and Republicans must work together and find common ground before awarding funding for projects.

Keep track of the Capital Investment Committee’s work by visiting www.senate.mn/committees.

About Senator Dan Sparks
Dan Sparks is a state senator who represents all of Freeborn and Mower counties, and portions of Dodge, Steele, and Faribault counties. He is a member of the Capital Investment and Agriculture, Rural Development, and Housing Finance committees, and the Ranking Member of the Commerce and Consumer Protection Finance and Policy Committee.

Senator Dan Sparks
Dan Sparks represents District 27, which includes all or portions of Dodge, Faribault, Freeborn, Mower, and Steele counties in the southeastern part of the state.

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