Duluth Mayor Don Ness pushes for tourism tax to improve West Duluth

By KBJR News 1

March 24, 2014 Updated Mar 24, 2014 at 8:59 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) --- West Duluth could soon see the implementation of a number of new parks and trails due to a proposed tourism tax by Duluth Mayor Don Ness.

Mayor Ness says it's all part of his vision to invest in St. Louis River neighborhoods.

The mayor has proposed a new sales tax to create a fund that would be used to improve tourism in the Western part of the city.

State legislation, introduced by Northland lawmakers, calls for an additional sales tax of up to one-half of one percent on food, beverage, and lodging.

Mayor Ness says the money would be used to improve Wade Stadium, and the Lake Superior Zoo, Spirit Mountain, plus create more trails and parks to improve upon what West Duluth already has to offer.

"It's about economic development, it's about clean up of the river, it's about investing in the housing stock in this area and creating new housing demand. And part of it is then creating this outdoor recreation and environmental learning hub for visitors and locals alike," said Mayor Ness.

The city is asking the Minnesota state legislature to authorize the city to go ahead with its plan to institute the tourism tax on a local level.

If the Legislature authorizes the move this spring the mayor would still need permission from the city council.

Elsa Robins