Emphasizing Expansion

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For anyone voting as a resident of the city of Marshall this November, there will be important decisions to make dealing with the city’s expansion, development, and taxes.

Residents will be asked whether or not the city should adopt ordinances to impose a 0.5% sales tax and a 1.5% tax on food and beverage sales. The taxes would fund expansion to the current Minnesota Emergency Response and Industry Training Center (MERIT Center) and construction of regional amateur sports facilities.

Southwest Minnesota State University’s student government has officially taken a stance to support the measures. They cite potential for increases in enrollment and retention at the University as a result of the projects’ ability to contribute to Marshall’s attractiveness to new residents and businesses.

The proposed sports complex would house an indoor ice arena. According to a fact sheet from the Marshall Area Chamber of Commerce, the arena would have the capacity to accommodate wrestling, basketball, volleyball and soccer. The complex would also have softball and baseball fields, and an outdoor soccer/football field.

The MERIT Center expansion would include a public safety driving course; training for commercial drivers; training for ATV, motorcycle, and snowmobile drivers; and an AARP driver safety program.

Many who describe themselves as fiscally conservative have reservations about the tax burden the ordinances would place on residents. Supporters have countered with the statistic that over 40% of the tax revenue would be generated by outside visitors to the Marshall area.

If the ordinances do not pass the vote, Marshall would likely lose out on the chance to be designated as one of the states’ locations for a regional amateur sports center. The opportunity could then be passed on to a neighboring community such as Willmar or Worthington.

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