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BYAC wants a Bemidji skate park

Construction of a skate park in Bemidji is included in the goals of the Bemidji Youth Advisory Commission for its 2007-08 year.

Jackie Hess, vice president of the BYAC, offered the commission's report during Tuesday's City Council meeting. She outlined the accomplishments of the BYAC during 2006-07 and offered the group's top three priority goals, which include leading a youth-intensive process to design and build a skate park.

Councilor Ron Johnson was supportive of the BYAC's goal to locate a skate park in Bemidji. He said the city of Baudette, Minn., has a "very nice" skate park that fits in well with area trails.

"If the city of Baudette has something like that, I think the city of Bemidji could too," he said.

Councilor Nancy Erickson suggested that the BYAC member of the Parks and Recreation Commission bring the project forward as a possible use of the sales tax dedicated to park improvements.

Hess said there also is a skateboard company that contributes funds to communities toward the construction of a skate park, and the BYAC is looking into that as an option.

Other goals for 2007-08 include creating a better system for individual youth to get connected with the BYAC and place youth members on all of the committees in the community, according to council documents.

Hess said the BYAC also is creating its own committees that will report to the full BYAC during the upcoming year.

"Hopefully, we'll get more accomplished," she said, explaining that with committees, the BYAC will be able to have more productive meetings. "Hopefully, it will be a great year."

The BYAC plans to have three committees, according to council documents.

The Youth Connections Committee will strive to better connect youth with the BYAC, create a list of activities for youth, help other youth organize their own activities and serve as a contact between the BYAC and area youth groups.

The Community Relations Committee will contact adult committees, present information on what the BYAC is and use its monthly column in the Pioneer to open communication between youth and adult groups; be responsible for all advertising and publicity that comes from the BYAC; and serve as the contact between the BYAC and adult groups.

The Youth Activities Committee plans to work with the Parks and Recreation Commission to create a youth-designed skate park, partner with the Boys and Girls Club to get its full-time high school youth program running and work toward a youth center, and continue working with the Drug Free Coalition of North Central Minnesota to extend the hours of select coffee shops to provide more places for youth to hang out.

Other partnerships are planned between the BYAC, Bemidji State University Student Senate and "Bemidji Leads!"