AP NEWS

Our view: Thumbs up, thumbs down

December 17, 2018

It looks like the new Minnesota Legislature and newly elected Gov. Tim Walz will have a healthy budget surplus to argue about when the 2019 session opens on Jan. 8. The state budget forecast released last week indicated Minnesota has a $1.5 billion surplus.

There is no end to the suggestions of how to handle that surplus — tax breaks, rainy day fund, spending on pet projects. We’ll hold off on that wrangling until January.

For now, let’s just enjoy the news this holiday season that our state is not in a financial hole.

Thumbs down to closed streets

We’ve had a front-row view of the parking ramp construction and closure of East Center Street, First Avenue and First Street Southeast for well over a year now and frankly we’re tired of it.

This has been a slow-motion construction project if ever there was one. Meanwhile, three blocks of public city streets have been converted to construction storage yards, inconveniencing downtown workers, pedestrians, drivers and, by the way, our customers.

The project is past its due date, with no end apparently in sight. It’s time to step up the pace and turn these blocked streets back to public use.

Thumbs up to winter skating

If you haven’t been to Soldiers Field this winter, throw a pair of skates in the car and head over to the prettiest skating rinks in town.

The quarter-mile oval is frozen, and two hockey rinks have been built, all illuminated with not only floodlights, but colorful strings of lights wrapped around trees and hanging from poles. What a great atmosphere for an evening on the ice.

Kudos to the all the hard work by Rochester Park and Recreation crews to create this winter wonderland for all of us to enjoy.

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