Letters to the Editor - July 18, 2010

Save Fairmont Park I'm writing in reference to a neglected city park. I've enjoyed Fairmont Park over the years, having grown up in the West Duluth area. Now, because of poor access and maintenance, it has limited use. Few parks in the city have ...

Save Fairmont Park

I'm writing in reference to a neglected city park. I've enjoyed Fairmont Park over the years, having grown up in the West Duluth area. Now, because of poor access and maintenance, it has limited use. Few parks in the city have such a history of major picnics and gatherings. The park was a gathering point for family picnics and tours of the zoo, not to mention speeches by Hubert H. Humphrey, Paul Wellstone, etc.

The park has lost access roads and its sliding hill and bandstand due to expansion of Lake Superior Zoo.

With a little planning and care, Fairmont could, in a small way, rival St. Paul's Como Park. It could also host sledding events like Proctor and Cloquet parks do.

I've noticed many concrete benches and picnic tables in Two Harbors' parks that have been donated in memory of people. Why couldn't Fairmont have a couple of shelters with tables and power -- and parking for the handicapped and elderly -- that could be rented out? They would be popular for family gatherings.


The old D.W.P. railroad track would make an excellent loop for biking out to Becks Road. Cyclists could return on the Munger Trail, as they pass within a block or two of each other. The short version would be just west of Spirit Mountain on the old Westinghouse Trail. The views in the western part of town are awesome, and they come complete with a cool tunnel.

The creek with the old pine forest would make for great hiking trails; the smell of pine and sound of water on the rocks sure are inviting. I know of a cold spring on the side of the hill (near the top) that would add to the trails.

Wildlife in the area makes for all the more excitement.

For year-round use, a softball/soccer field and a sledding hill/concert area would top off Fairmont's picnic area. The sledding hill could be east of the pine forest, starting by the old road and coming down to below the old railroad tracks. A parking area could be added off Redruth Street, using the old tracks to enter.

I can see people enjoying music in the park with a bandstand at the base, and snowmobilers could use the lot in the winter for safe and easy access to the trails already in place.

Larry R. Anderson

Help shape our metro area

The Duluth-Superior Metropolitan Council (MIC) is the designated planning organization for our metro area. I serve on the MIC as co-chair. All transportation plans that involve federal dollars -- from trains, planes, buses, automobiles, trucks, bikes and pedestrians -- come through the MIC.


In our hillside neighborhoods, the MIC has studied and made recommendations on bike and pedestrian routes, safe routes to schools, DTA travel, Sixth and 10th avenues east and one-way conversions. The MIC is involved in planning the city connector route from Lakewalk to the Munger Trail. It's involved in the proposed Northern Lights Express rail service to Minneapolis. It also has a new bike-ped advisory committee.

Currently, the draft of our metro area's long-range transportation plan is in a public review until July 21.

Visit or call 529-7541 if you are interested in giving input in this plan or other transportation issues in our community.

Steve O'Neil

Property tax refund deadline approaching

Whether you are a homeowner or renter, you may be eligible to receive property tax relief through several state property tax refund programs. As your legislator, I want to make sure that all of my constituents who deserve refunds for their property taxes receive them.

The Department of Revenue asks that taxpayers fill out the appropriate 2009 M1PR form by Aug. 15. The form is available at public libraries, your county courthouse and other locations where state tax forms are distributed. You can also find it online at: .

Here are the property tax relief programs you may be eligible for:


Homeowner and Renter Property Tax Refund -- You may be eligible if you are a homeowner and have household income of less than $98,290, or you are a renter and have a household income of less than $53,030. Your refund will depend on how high your property taxes or rent are relative to your income.

Special Property Tax Refund -- You might be eligible if you are a homeowner and the net property tax on your homestead increased by more than 12 percent and at least $100 from 2009 to 2010. The increase cannot be due to improvements to your home. This refund does not depend on your income.

Senior Citizen Property Tax Deferral Program -- The Senior Citizen Property Tax Deferral Program allows property taxpayers who are 65 years or older to defer a portion of their homestead property taxes until a later time.

Under this program, the taxpayer pays only 3 percent of the preceding year's household income as property tax, and the rest of the property tax is deferred. Taxpayers are still allowed to file for a property tax refund and any other property refunds the state may offer, however the amount of any refunds will be applied to the deferred property tax amount. For questions on the Senior Citizen Property Tax Deferral Program call (800) 652-9094.

For any other questions, call the Department of Revenue at (651) 296-3781. You can also always give my office a call (888) 682-3205 if you have any questions.

I hope you are all enjoying the summer. I look forward to seeing you out in our communities.

State Rep. Tom Rukavina
Virginia, Minn.

The Budgeteer News welcomes letters to the editor. All letters must be signed and include the author's name (no initials please), address, and a daytime phone number for confirmation purposes. Letters should be no more than 400 words. Letters may be edited for length, clarity and accuracy. Publication is at the discretion of the editor, and as space permits we will print them. No more than one letter per writer will be published in any month.

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