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Reader's View: Increased parks funding good for Duluth

Seeing kids at play outdoors, amidst a Duluth drizzle, was a timely reminder of all the healthful, affordable fun we can find at our city parks and athletic facilities.

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Contributed photo / Children play baseball this summer at Portman in Duluth's Lakeside neighborhood.

On Aug. 11, Duluth Mayor Emily Larson announced a proposal to increase funding for city parks through restructuring a dedicated tax (“ Duluth City Council will be asked to authorize park levy referendum ,” Aug. 11). Less than 24 hours later, I received a snapshot of a real, live, sandlot-style ballgame happening at Duluth’s Portman Park.

Seeing kids at play outdoors, amidst a Duluth drizzle, was a timely reminder of all the healthful, affordable fun we can find at our city parks and athletic facilities. It was a real-life Norman Rockwell moment, right now, in 2022. Even better, the only smartphone in sight in the picture was the one I assume the passerby used to capture the moment.

Looking closely at the photo, important details began to emerge. There was more than baseball and more than mere athletic-skill development happening in our park. We also see child-directed activity, problem-solving, and interpersonal relationship-building.

As a community, we can let these meaningful moments fade increasingly into nostalgia, as the weeds grow and the fences fall, or we can support and nurture these city parks and athletic facilities so they’re safe, viable, and vibrant for years to come.

It’s true that everything costs more these days, and, sadly, we often get less in return. But investing in these ballfields, rinks, tennis courts, and parks is different. This investment won’t leave us with less. It’ll give us more. More of the moments in the photo I received. More community. More of what’s good.


I support the proposal to increase Duluth’s city parks funding and I hope you will too.

Jayson Hron


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