Mayor takes moment to reflect on Community Center referendum


by Joseph Back

The Community Center didn’t pass at referendum November 2 of this year, but the response that Mayor Myron Bailey has received since has convinced him the issue isn’t going away, as he elaborated on in his Mayor’s Moment for the month of November.

Uploaded to YouTube November 19, 2021 and enjoying seven views within a short time from posting, Cottage Grove Mayor Myron Bailey took the Mayor’s Moment for November to reflect on the results of the Community Center referendum from November 2.

“As you may already know, the Community Center referendum vote that took place on Tuesday, November 2 failed to get the number of votes needed to pass. From the beginning of my term as Mayor, I have said we would put the decision of the Community Center to you, the residents of Cottage Grove,” Bailey shares in the most recent Mayor’s Moment. “We designed and put forth what various citizen task forces had envisioned. And while the voter’s outcome was not in favor of this project, the number of messages, calls, emails, and in-person visits I have received since the election, shows me that I don’t think the Community Center discussion will go away,” he goes on.

Noting that the Community Center referendum passed in parts of the city where the school district referenda did not, Bailey says that the results showed concern over the simultaneous tax impact of three separate questions by voters.

“This shows me that we had support, but some voters were concerned about the impact of three separate tax increases,” he says of the vote outcome from November 2. In addition to the proposed Community Center, the November 2 ballot also had two school district items, one that passed and reset the funding per student for aid purposes from $1,536.60 to $1,8886.60 with annual increases for inflation, along with another that didn’t pass and which sought to spend roughly $5 million per year for student technology needs, or $50 million over ten years. Also affecting the November 2 outcome as Bailey saw it was the reality that needed grassroots participation on the public’s part to get the word out for the Community Center, didn’t come to pass.

“In addition, even though the public told us overwhelmingly they wanted a community center, we did not see the grassroots efforts out there spreading the word,” he says. “I believe these two things led to the Community Center not passing.” So what happens to the land that the Center would have been on? Bailey touches on that as well in the most recent Mayor’s Moment.

“As for the future, the land we are holding will be sold to a developer who is interested in developing the entire Shoppes at Cottage View plan we have put forth,” Bailey says. “The development will be a mix of commercial and medium to high-density residential.”

Bailey closes out by saying that designated dollars from the recent passing of the federal infrastructure bill along with support from Minnesota District 2 Representative Angie Craig would be used to help support and fund the Shoppes at Cottage View development, taking the place of the rejected Community Center—for now at least.

December 1, 2021