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Improvements could help make Bemidji better

I'm excited after reading that soon the plans for the downtown area will be accomplished. I worked part time at the Tourist Information Center and a couple of years ago, we had a group of Canadians stop in to visit our beautiful lakefront and, of course, have their picture taken in front of Paul and Babe. One lady in particular came up to me all excited and said what a beautiful area we lived in and she enjoyed our quaint shops and wonderful restaurants within walking distance. However, she proceeded to say that we need to make a few changes "to showcase the jewel we had!"

I told her at that time I'd heard that was to be done in a few years. She said that it would be fun to come back again to see what we've done. She was from Winnipeg and they had done that: cleaning up the eyesores, making parks, planting trees and flowers, and walkways for folks of all ages to enjoy and the tourists have come.

We have many visitors from other countries and they've come to visit the First City on the Mississippi, have their picture taken by our famous statues, go to Lake Itasca to walk across the Mississippi, then go to see the Mall of America. Then they feel they've seen it all! Maybe with the changes they will stay a while longer.

Sad to say, I've never noticed the problems the handicapped folks face at times until I've been temporarily handicapped, needing to use a walker. We have designated parking spots, are sent permits to hang in our front window. We park, get out of our cars and are faced with the curb! No way we can get safely over so we have to hop or be pushed to the end of the block so we can get up on the sidewalk. Maybe this can be improved upon when they work on the streets. I hope so! Like I said, "I'm excited!"

Shirley Worth