New citizens committee will advise on Legacy parks spendingby Elizabeth Dunbar, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — A new advisory committee made up of citizens and professionals will soon be formed to help oversee Legacy Amendment spending for the state's parks and trails.
The Department of Natural Resources, the Metropolitan Council and the Greater Minnesota Regional Parks and Trails Coalition are organizing the committee, which will be made up of citizens and those who have professional experience in the area of parks and trails.
The DNR said the committee will have up to 17 members from across the state who will meet about six times a year.
Courtland Nelson, parks and trails director for the DNR, said the committee will not have a decision-making role on which projects will receive Legacy money. But he said the group will have an integral role in promoting the 25-year Parks and Trails Legacy Plan and making sure the agencies receiving the funds are living up to expectations.
The 25-year plan was developed after Minnesota voters approved a three-eighths-cent sales tax to send money to the outdoors, clean water, parks and the arts. Parks and trails receive 14.25 percent of the money.
"We see this as a standing committee that will last 20 years," Nelson said. "They'll be making advice not only to DNR but also to the Met Council and to greater Minnesota."
The advisory committee will be able to address any concerns about how money is being spent and can "clarify some of the problems and to give consent and advice as we move forward into the third and the fourth and the fifth biennium," he said.
The application deadline for the committee is Dec. 7.