By Tori Mason

DENVER (CBS4)– Denver’s sales tax is lower than average compared to surrounding metro area cities. It is nice on our pocketbook, but measure 2A supporters say it’s detrimental to city parks.

Voting for measure 2A would raise the city sales tax by a quarter percent, so some voters may be reluctant to approve the measure. For the average spender, it ends up being about $3 more per month.

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Over time, the sales tax increase would generate an additional $45 million to be invested in Denver parks.

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock and other city leaders gathered at Cuatro Vientos Park to encourage voters to support 2A. Cuatro Vientos opened just over four years ago. It was Westwood’s first new park in over 30 years.

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“This is such a beautiful park and a beautiful amenity. It brought life to this neighborhood. We as Denver residents, as taxpayers, should not have to have bake sales to build our parks,” said Denver City Councilman Paul Lopez.

Every Front Range county except Denver has a dedicated fund for parks, trails and open space.
The money acquired through 2A would be spent improving and maintaining current parks, protecting wildlife, and ensuring every resident has a park nearby – preferably within a 10-minute walk.

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The backlog for park repairs is currently more than $127 million. City leaders say Denver’s growth is partially to blame.

“In 2014, we ranked 7th in the nation on our park score. We’ve dropped to 26th because we are growing so rapidly. We’re falling behind and underfunding our parks,” said Jolon Clark, Denver City Council President.

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According to the mayor, about 80 percent of residents live within a 10-minute walk to a park. Nearly half of Denver’s parks were rated in fair or poor condition.

Tori Mason is an award-winning reporter for CBS4 This Morning. Follow her on Twitter @ToriMasonTV.

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