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Edina voters will be asked to consider a local option sales tax on the ballot in November that, if approved, would generate millions for improvements at city parks, including the restoration of native habitat at a former golf course. 

Last year, the Minnesota Legislature approved the city's request to use a half-cent sales tax to generate at least $39.3 million for projects at Braemar Park and the former golf course site, Fred Richards Park. 

If approved by voters in November, the tax would add five cents for every ten dollar-taxable purchase in Edina and expire within 19 years. 

The Fred Richards Executive Golf Course, which closed in 2014, left behind major disruptions to the area's wetland complexes and worsened the city's challenges with flooding. 

At a city-hosted "Town Talks" event last month, Parks & Recreation Director Perry Vetter said the plans to transform the park includes restoring wetland complexes and wildlife habitat, improving water quality, reducing carbon emissions and air pollution, supporting biodiversity and establishing better flood protection. 

The rehabilitated 43-acre park would be nearly twice the size of the park system's crown jewel, Centennial Lakes Park. 

The design includes a "nature bank", which would feature native vegetation, pollinator gardens and wildlife habitat areas with new boardwalks and trails. 

A rendering of native habitat restorations planned in the Fred Richards Park Master Plan. Courtesy of the City of Edina.

A rendering of native habitat restorations planned in the Fred Richards Park Master Plan. Courtesy of the City of Edina.

The master plan also calls for new recreational and athletic amenities, including pickleball courts, lawn games and pavilions. 

The sales tax is projected to provide $17.7 million for Fred Richards Park improvements and $21.6 million for the city's largest park, Braemar Park and Arena.

Plans at Braemar Park include carving out new multi-modal trails, supporting the park's native woodlands with invasive species control, new pickleball and tennis courts and improving accessibility. 

The city will host another "Town Talk" in September to discuss the local option sales tax. More information about the plans can be found at edinaatplay.org

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