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Beltrami County Board: 2011 Fund Grants awarded

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news Bemidji, 56619
Bemidji Minnesota P.O. Box 455 56619

The criteria for awarding Development Fund Grants are set by state statute - they must promote tourism, agriculture and industrial development.

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The 2010 Timber Funds apportioned to the 2011 Development Fund equal $75,000. On Tuesday, the Beltrami County Board voted unanimously to award $69,304 in 2011 Development Fund Grants to five nonprofits and deny the requests of six other applicants because their missions and activities fail to meet the statutory criteria. The remainder of the 2010 Timber Funds will go into reserves for future grants.

The County Board made the following awards:

E Beltrami County Agricultural Association (Fair Board) - $30,000 toward fairgrounds improvements under both the agricultural and tourism criteria.

According to the application submitted by Paul Hokuf, fairgrounds facilities manager, the Beltrami County Fair continues to increase in attendance and participation with about 3,000 additional people coming through the gates in 2010 than in previous years. Commissioner Jack Frost noted the variety of license plates from states and Canadian provinces that show up in the fairgrounds parking lot each year. The Beltrami County Fair will run Aug. 10-14 this year.

E Beltrami County Historical Society - $20,000 to provide historical presentations, history center research resources and historical documentaries. The commissioners agreed that the Beltrami Historical Society and History Center Museum are tourism attractions for the county.

In the application, Executive Director Wanda Hoyum said the grant would be used for the 56-minute television documentary about Beltrami County history, "The Middle Years 1941-1963."

E Blackduck Area History and Art Center - $6,400 for bringing "history to life through a historical railroad display." The Blackduck Area History and Art Center also partners with the Blackduck Woodcarvers Festival, which is a successful tourism draw.

In the application, President Jim Gorman wrote that the center began in 2001 to collect memorabilia from the area covered by the Blackduck School District. "The Blackduck Area History and Art Center provides a unique venue in the Blackduck area. More people are using the center's library/archives for historical research." The Tin Pan Gallery is also the only exhibit venue north of Bemidji and south of Baudette.

E Headwaters Science Center - $7,500 to complete the exhibit on human respiration and circulation as they relate to nutrition and exercise. According to the application submitted by Executive Director Laddie Elwell, "The exhibition will increase visitation by school groups and the general public from outside the Bemidji area."

E Paul Bunyan Playhouse - $5,404 for air handling (heating and cooling) system replacement. Janet Brademan, Playhouse business manager, said local and tourist audiences come for summer professional theater experiences, and the building needs air conditioning.

Eliminated from the grants were Beltrami Humane Society, Bemidji Area Tennis Association, Boys & Girls Club of the Bemidji Area, Evergreen House, Northern Dental Access Center, and Northwoods Habitat for Humanity.

Commissioners agreed that all the applicants made worthwhile contributions to the community, but those denied grant funds don't fit the agriculture, tourism and industrial development criteria.

"It's not to besmirch any of these others," Frost said. "We'd be in a world of hurt without any of them."

The criteria for awarding Development Fund Grants are set by state statute - they must promote tourism, agriculture and industrial development.

The 2010 Timber Funds apportioned to the 2011 Development Fund equal $75,000. On Tuesday, the Beltrami County Board voted unanimously to award $69,304 in 2011 Development Fund Grants to five nonprofits and deny the requests of six other applicants because their missions and activities fail to meet the statutory criteria. The remainder of the 2010 Timber Funds will go into reserves for future grants.

The County Board made the following awards:

- Beltrami County Agricultural Association (Fair Board) - $30,000 toward fairgrounds improvements under both the agricultural and tourism criteria.

According to the application submitted by Paul Hokuf, fairgrounds facilities manager, the Beltrami County Fair continues to increase in attendance and participation with about 3,000 additional people coming through the gates in 2010 than in previous years. Commissioner Jack Frost noted the variety of license plates from states and Canadian provinces that show up in the fairgrounds parking lot each year. The Beltrami County Fair will run Aug. 10-14 this year.

- Beltrami County Historical Society - $20,000 to provide historical presentations, history center research resources and historical documentaries. The commissioners agreed that the Beltrami Historical Society and History Center Museum are tourism attractions for the county.

In the application, Executive Director Wanda Hoyum said the grant would be used for the 56-minute television documentary about Beltrami County history, "The Middle Years 1941-1963."

- Blackduck Area History and Art Center - $6,400 for bringing "history to life through a historical railroad display." The Blackduck Area History and Art Center also partners with the Blackduck Woodcarvers Festival, which is a successful tourism draw.

In the application, President Jim Gorman wrote that the center began in 2001 to collect memorabilia from the area covered by the Blackduck School District. "The Blackduck Area History and Art Center provides a unique venue in the Blackduck area. More people are using the center's library/archives for historical research." The Tin Pan Gallery is also the only exhibit venue north of Bemidji and south of Baudette.

- Headwaters Science Center - $7,500 to complete the exhibit on human respiration and circulation as they relate to nutrition and exercise. According to the application submitted by Executive Director Laddie Elwell, "The exhibition will increase visitation by school groups and the general public from outside the Bemidji area."

- Paul Bunyan Playhouse - $5,404 for air handling (heating and cooling) system replacement. Janet Brademan, Playhouse business manager, said local and tourist audiences come for summer professional theater experiences, and the building needs air conditioning.

Eliminated from the grants were Beltrami Humane Society, Bemidji Area Tennis Association, Boys & Girls Club of the Bemidji Area, Evergreen House, Northern Dental Access Center, and Northwoods Habitat for Humanity.

Commissioners agreed that all the applicants made worthwhile contributions to the community, but those denied grant funds don't fit the agriculture, tourism and industrial development criteria.

"It's not to besmirch any of these others," Frost said. "We'd be in a world of hurt without any of them."

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