City Council Approves Tourism Tax Funding For Glensheen Mansion And Duluth Children’s Museum
Nearly 60% of the tourism tax budget will help fund many of the city's debt obligations.
DULUTH, Minn- The tax money generated from hotels, food, and beverage sales in the city of Duluth, is down by nearly 30% due to the financial impacts of the pandemic.
This loss of revenue is forcing the city to tighten the belt on the distribution of money collected from tourism.
Nearly 60% of the tourism tax budget will help fund many of the city’s debt obligations.
The rest will help support local organizations and tourist attractions, but not everyone will get a large piece of the pie.
Glensheen Mansion is one of the most popular attractions that bring thousands of tourists to Duluth every year.
“In 2016 we realized through a study from an outside vendor that Glensheen brings in about $7.5 million to the local economy,” said Dan Hartman, the executive director for Glensheen Mansion.
Recognizing how important the organization is to Duluth, the city council granted Glensheen $20,000 in tourism tax money for building upkeep.
“Looks like we will put that towards our fire alarm system, which hasn’t been updated since the year Glensheen opened,” said Hartman.
Glensheen’s executive director says he appreciates the city council’s decision.
“It is one o f the biggest draws for out of town visitors in our community. If Glensheen isn’t performing well that is going to negatively affect a whole series of businesses down the line,” said Hartman.
Last week, Mayor Emily Larson put out a plan for how the tourism tax dollars would be given out.
The Duluth Children’s Museum was excluded from that original plan.
In addition, the organization lost out on grant money from one of its largest state funding sources.
“Between those two sources, that’s about $90,000 that is supposed to go towards play and learning for children in our community,” said Cameron Kruger, the president and CEO of the Duluth Children’s Museum.
After sending a letter to the administration pleading for help, the city council agreed to grant $5,000 to the Duluth Children’s Museum.
“We have been closed for most of the last nine months due to the pandemic. It has been extremely challenging to bring in the revenue it takes in order to run a children’s museum.
Another piece of the puzzle is the museum is moving into its new building in the Lincoln Park neighborhood, which was purchased last March.
Unfortunately, the building is in need of major repairs, such as a new heating system.
At the time of the purchase, it was estimated repairs could add up to $1 million.