Devils Lake voters reject tax increase; money would have funded events, wellness center
DEVILS LAKE, N.D. -- Devils Lake residents rejected a one-half percent city sales tax increase to finance a $23.5 million project to build an events center and a wellness center. The vote was: 872 no to 705 yes, according to unofficial results re...
DEVILS LAKE, N.D. -- Devils Lake residents rejected a one-half percent city sales tax increase to finance a $23.5 million project to build an events center and a wellness center.
The vote was: 872 no to 705 yes, according to unofficial results released to the Herald Tuesday night.
The proposed project includes two separate facilities:
- A $16.7 million, 71,250-square-foot community wellness center that would be built at Lake Region State College in Devils Lake.
- A $6.8 million 47,500-square-foot convention/events center that would be located in the former Walmart shopping center along U.S. Highway 2 in west Devils Lake.
More than 500 people cast ballots in early voting, according to officials at Devils Lake City Hall.
The measure required a simple majority in favor in order to pass.
Devils Lake currently has a 2-percent city sales tax, which has raised about $2.8 million to $3 million annually in recent years, or about $1.4 million to $1.5 million for each one percent of tax, according to a recent estimate from City Hall.
The proposed tax increase would have expired in 20 years.
The proposed wellness center would have included a college-sized gymnasium, fitness center, indoor play area for children and multi-purpose fitness areas, along with other features.
The Community Wellness Center, which would have been located on the campus of Lake Region State College, would have allowed the city to host a wide variety of sporting and educational events, as well as cater to the recreation and fitness needs of Devils Lake residents, according to proponents.
If it had been approved, the old Walmart building would have been remodeled to accommodate the events center, which would have included a large conference/meeting room and three multi-purpose rooms, as well as a catering kitchen with room to expand.