What is in the big $1.5 billion bonding and public works bill? A new pool for New Hope

I was cruising through the $1.5 billion bonding and public works bill—which is now law. Gov. Dayton stooped to sign it after vetoing virtually all the other legislative work from 2018. He wanted to spend a lot more. I know, you’re shocked by that.

Even more shocking is that he signed something!

We do not have tax conformity (hopefully that will come in January before we all have to file) but lawmakers came together to spend, and hopefully maintain some of the infrastructure we already own. The Legislature made sure there was a lot more maintenance, and a lot less new stuff, this time around. We will take a closer look at this over the summer.

I thought it would be fun to see what all is in there.

Here is one of the smallest items; a swimming pools for New Hope, for example, on page 34.

Why are state taxpayers giving New Hope a $2 million “grant” for a pool? We recently helped Golden Valley put in a new clubhouse for its Brookview Golf Course. Huh.

Cities are free to offer amenities, though honestly golf courses are a hole too far for me. But at least local voters can keep an eye on the city council and bounce officials if they are not being fiscally responsible. OK, it is a theory, I know.

But why are state taxpayers asked to help with local projects?

New Hope is not just building a pool—it has big plans:

The New Hope City Council approved a proposal from Stantec Consulting Services on January 9, 2017 to develop concepts for a new outdoor pool and for updated amenities in Civic Center Park to complement the proposed new police station and city hall. The preferred pool and park concepts will be combined into a final Master Park and Pool Plan. That master plan will provide a unifying vision for all park amenities, buildings, and civic events.

That was the good news. The bad news is, yep, you guessed it. They must close the current pool for two long summers during construction. But wait, a new pool, with the help of state taxpayers, will be ready for 2020. Phew.

The Outdoor Pool will be Closed in 2018 and 2019

Due to the construction of a new Police Department and City Hall, the Milton C. Honsey Outdoor Pool will be closed for the summers of 2018 and 2019. The City plans to build a new pool complex along the north end of the parking lot, with a planned opening of June 2020.

Thank you for your past patronage of the New Hope Outdoor Pool, and we hope to see you in 2020!


Here is a great outline of what else is in the bill from Briana Bierschbach (she’s smart, good reporter):


The public works construction bill passed during the final hours of the session. It includes $825 million in general obligation bonds and money from a slew of other funds totaling $1.5 billion in projects.

Among its provisions, it calls for spending:$129 million for the Minnesota State colleges and universities system to repair and maintain campus buildings and $80 million for the University of Minnesota system

  • $98 million for the Department of Natural Resources
  • $50 million for the Local Road Improvement Program
  • $5 million for local bridges
  • $400 million over three years for funding big road projects.

There’s also $25 million for school safety projects tucked into the bill, an important provision since the budget bill Dayton vetoed contained a provision to spend money from the state surplus to help boost school security. The governor told reporters Wednesday the fact that school safety funding was included in the bonding bill was part of his consideration in signing it.

There’s also money for the Stone Arch Bridge in Minneapolis as well as for a new visitor center at historic Fort Snelling

Other noteworthy items in the bonding package Dayton signed Wednesday:

  • $28.1 million for mental health crisis centers
  • $32 million for three veterans homes in rural Minnesota
  • $10 million to upgrade security at buildings surrounding the Capitol complex