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Bemidji City Council action

Among notable action taken at the Bemidji City Council meeting Monday:

Property exchange

The council considered trading property.

The city would give up Norton Avenue between 23rd Street and Paul Bunyan Drive. Pat DeMarchi, the adjacent property owner on the west, would get the land and the city would retain easements for the utilities in place. The land is 60 feet wide and 250 feet long.

In return for the vacated Norton Avenue parcel, the city would get the north end of Birchmont Drive where the proposed sewer and water project would be constructed, as well as a new connection between Birchmont Drive and Bemidji Avenue West. This parcel is mainly wetlands, but is the desired location for a sewage lift station for the sewer project.

The city would then recover $34,000. Beltrami County is willing to pay $19,000 toward the acquisition of the Birchmont parcel, and $15,000 can be reimbursed from the sewer project.

ACTION: The council voted unanimously to approve.

Downtown Design Review

The council considered appointments to the Downtown Design Review Committee, which will make recommendations to the council on commercial rehabilitation projects associated with Small Cities Development Program funding.

The following individuals (and their organizations) were considered: Jay Backstrom, Downtown Development Authority; Paula Swenson, Joint Planning Commission; Cindy Serratore; Heritage Preservation Commission; Wanda Hoyum; Historic Preservation Commission; Onen Markeson; city of Bemidji; and Paul Richards; at-large.

ACTION: The council voted unanimously to approve.

Support for special session

The council considered a resolution supporting a 2007 special legislative session to consider the omnibus tax bill. The resolution states that the council would support a special session that would approve a tax bill that would include at least $70 million in Local Government Aid.

ACTION: The council voted unanimously to approve.

Youth Advisory Commission

Charlie Christiansen updated the council on the Bemidji Youth Rally, which was held June 7 at the Lake Bemidji waterfront. He said everything was going really well until the afternoon, when it started raining and events had to be canceled. He reported that about 400 kids were there, and the rally was on track to have a better turnout than last year. He said four to five of the bands did get to perform before the event was canceled and some of the bands that did not get to perform found alternate places to play.

Councilor Nancy Erickson asked if the Bemidji Youth Advisory Commission had considered utilizing an indoor location as an alternative in case of inclement weather. Christiansen said it is being considered, but the costs for renting or reserving a back-up space also must be considered.

Christiansen also reported that the BYAC will have a team together for the Aug. 3-4 Dragonboat Festival races on Lake Bemidji. City Clerk Kay Murphy said the city will also have a team, and offered a friendly challenge: "We're gonna' beat you."

ACTION: No action necessary.

CIP hearing

The council held a public hearing on its revised its Capital Improvement Plan, which now includes the new public works building. No one from the public spoke.

ACTION: No action necessary.

Paul Bunyan Trail

The council considered supporting a bonding request that would ask the state Legislature for $2 million to complete the Paul Bunyan Trail from Bemidji to Walker. The bonding request would be made jointly between Bemidji and Walker.

ACTION: The council voted unanimously to approve.

Events center update

The council considered to direct the design team to plan for the addition of a convention center and/or a second sheet of ice, on which the Bemidji State University hockey team would practice.

ACTION: The council decided to wait for more information and a full council before making a decision.

Present: Onen Markeson, Ward 1; Roger Hellquist, Ward 2; Jerry Downs, Ward 4; Nancy Erickson, Ward 5; Barb Meuers; at-large. Absent: Mayor Richard Lehmann; and Ron Johnson; Ward 3.

For more information on City Council actions, call the city clerk's office at 759-3570.