City leaders in Hermantown are hoping voters will vote “Yes” for a planned health and wellness center.

The 17-million-dollar project is a collaboration of the YMCA and Essentia Health.

Part of the funding needs voters to say “Yes” to allow the city to use part of its sales tax for the project.

Existing use of the city sales tax is for infrastructural projects, but this would not increase the tax; it would only expand the use to include this health and wellness project.

The reason this “Vote Yes” committee has begun its awareness campaign is to inform voters that this does not mean the tax rate will increase.

“As a resident of Hermantown, you not only have the opportunity to make a better Hermantown by voting yes, you will directly impact the health and wellness of an entire region,” said Hermantown resident Anna Tanski at a press conference earlier today.

Other speakers at the podium echo Tanski’s message.

“Now more than ever it’s really vital that we come together as a community to expand the use of this tax to cover the city’s portion of this project,” Hermantown resident Kelly Biondi said.

If the Yes vote is approved on this ballot measure, it would only be one of three funding streams for the wellness center project.

Another portion would come from private fundraising.

And nearly half of the funding was included in the state bonding bill, a legislative measure that failed in the Minnesota State House earlier this year.

Those involved with this project in Hermantown are hopeful that a special session can approve that bonding bill, and give them the funding they need to make this project a reality.