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New identity takes shape at Bemidji's Diamond Point Park

You'd think it would be difficult to picture the end result of a park that is now covered in machinery, workers and dirt.

But, just three months after construction began, the new Diamond Point Park is emerging.

The Bemidji Park and Recreation Commission on Tuesday toured the park, which is expected to be completed and reopened next summer. Dan Haluptzok, superintendent of parks and recreation, led the tour.

The tour started just inside the park's boundaries, where one could see the area that eventually will become a parking lot. Once complete, the park will offer parking for 89 vehicles, plus an additional 24 on the street. Parking spaces will be designated throughout Diamond Point. Several other parking spots will be available throughout the park.

A scan of the area also shows where the paved bike trail will be. The bike trail circles the park.

The walking trail has been set and is composed of small rocks. The trail follows the edge of Lake Bemidji and leads to an observation point overlooking the lake.

Once at the observation peak, children and adults will have access to binoculars or telescope-like devices, Haluptzok said.

Both trails lead to the swimming area, which now features a gentle sloping sand beach. Just off the beach will be a large plot of grass, where one could sunbathe or perhaps sit and look out at the lake.

The grassy area, Haluptzok said, has prompted a need for an irrigation system. The Bemidji City Council was set to discuss the irrigation system at its July 16 meeting, but tabled it for at least one more meeting. Haluptzok said it would be difficult to maintain the grass without an irrigation system.

The playground area is near the beach, but should be set off far enough that supervised children should not have an opportunity to wander too far toward the water. There are two areas set off for a playground and swing area. The playground area is more inland and the swing area does not have any trees within it. Both play areas will be filled with wood chips, Haluptzok said.

The two buildings have already taken shape. At the main park building, one can see which end would be enclosed and which would be left open, with spots available for planters. The closed portion of the facility will have glass doors and the capability of opening up when reserved. Just off the building is the area that will be set aside for tailgating.

The Outdoor Program Center building is right on Lake Bemidji's shore behind the existing boat launch (a new launch also has been built). Inside the building, patrons will have the opportunity to rent canoes, sailboats or other outdoor equipment such as cross-country skis. It will be open year-round.

The picnic pavilion is set off of the lake, but angled toward the point. It will be partially covered and will offer grills and areas for group gatherings. Other, smaller picnic areas are scattered throughout the park.