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City Council meets in closed session to discuss possible purchase on south shore

The Bemidji City Council is eyeing the south shore.

The council met during a 90-minute closed meeting on Monday to discuss the potential acquisition of land on the southeast shore of Lake Bemidji.

City Attorney Al Felix offered a recap of the council meeting in which he stated that the council has directed City Manager John Chattin to negotiate with the property owners to acquire some, if not all, of the land on the southeast shore.

The council is looking at all of the property on the southeast shore, but whether the city of Bemidji ends up buying "part of or all of it in the end" remains to be seen, Felix said.

Felix, while offering details on the timeline and actions of the council, said he could not discuss specifics on the negotiations or a potential purchase price.

The city's interest in at least some of the property should not be too great a surprise to residents, Felix said. The city has been interested in creating a city park in the area, and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has expressed interest in purchasing land to extend the Paul Bunyan Trail.

When asked if the potential acquisition of property on the southeast shore of Lake Bemidji could potentially impact discussion on the proposed events center, Felix said, "Certainly could."

The bulk of the property currently is owned by ShoreQuest L.L.C, which is owned by developer John Zacher. Zacher's property encompasses 5,000 linear feet of shoreline on the south shore of the lake. It is the largest chunk of land on Lake Bemidji that has not yet been developed.

In August, Zacher presented his final plat for approval to the Greater Bemidji Area Joint Planning Board.

The plat detailed his plans to divide 74.3 acres into 42 commercial parcels and three outlots, including both the Georgia-Pacific and Burlington Northern Sante Fe Railroad land.

The JPB approved the plans in August. However, one of the conditions included in the JPB's approval is that ShoreQuest will not record the final plat until after Nov. 1.

Felix said Monday that the city's plans and the recording of the final plat will not necessarily affect each another.

That is an "independent matter," Felix said.