Last Friday, Governor Mark Dayton traveled to the University of Minnesota - Duluth to have a conversation with students, faculty, and staff about recent investments Minnesota's future. In 2013, the Governor worked closely with the Legislature to make major investments in job creation, property tax relief, and education. Governor Dayton's budget invests $86.5 million in job creation efforts that will leverage $1.5 billion in private sector investment - creating thousands of good jobs. But, they didn't stop there - they worked to provide middle class Minnesotans $400 million in needed property tax relief.
The Governor and Legislature also invested in our state's children. New resources for early-childhood learning and all-day kindergarten will help ensure our kids get a great start. And to help college students, the budget increases college student aid, while freezing tuition at public colleges and universities. In Duluth, students already are feel the positive impact - now more than 5,500 area college students are receiving an average state grant of nearly $3,000.
And now in 2014, Duluth stands to benefit from the Governor's new jobs initiative, which recommends funding for Lake Superior College, NorShor Theatre, and Spirit Mountain Recreation Area. Completing these three projects would support continued job growth in the Duluth area.
Lake Superior College
Governor Dayton's bonding proposal recommends $3.51 million for critical renovations at Lake Superior College. Combined with an additional $1.75 million from other sources, the college will be able to update aging classrooms - ensuring that its nursing, physical therapy, and other medical program students are able to get a world class education. Every year, more than 400 students attend Lake Superior College's nursing assistant program alone and these new resources will ensure they get the education they need for success.
In recent years, the historic NorShor Theatre in downtown Duluth has become increasingly dilapidated. Governor Dayton has a plan to change that. The Governor's bonding proposal would provide $6.95 million for renovation and restoration efforts. If the project is funded, the NorShor Theatre will once again be a first-class arts center. And a renovated NorShor Theatre would be a real asset for downtown Duluth as the city continues its economic revival.
Spirit Mountain Recreation Area
Currently, Spirit Mountain uses treated Duluth city water for snowmaking - draining water resources and inhibiting economic development in the western part of the city. The Governor's bonding proposal recommends $3.4 million for an infrastructure improvement that will allow Spirit Mountain to draw water from the St. Louis River, instead of the city tap. This change would allow Spirit Mountain to open three weeks earlier, while freeing up needed water resources for economic development. As a result, this project should help support significant growth in the Arrowhead.