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Bemidji Economic Development Authority approves proposed deal for Zacher property

The Bemidji Economic Development Authority met in a closed session Friday to discuss the purchase of property.

The EDA voted unanimously at the close of the meeting to approve a proposed purchase agreement for more than 100 acres of land owned by ShoreQuest L.L.C.'s John Zacher along the south shore of Lake Bemidji.

The details of the purchase agreements were not released during or following the meeting. City Manager John Chattin said details will be released once Zacher signs the agreement, which is expected to happen on Monday.

The Bemidji City Council, which comprises the Bemidji EDA, wants to purchase 130 acres in total along the south shore for the purpose of parks, trails and development, which is now proposed to include the events center project.

ShoreQuest is the largest landowner in the area.

The city already has purchase agreements for property owned by Joe Waslaski and Kris Klasen for $125,000 and North Central Door, a 10-acre parcel, for $868,500 plus the assumption of more than $22,500 in outstanding assessments.

Additionally, the city is in discussions with Bemidji Area Schools about a possible land purchase or swap for a parcel located north of First Street abutting the Waslaski/Klasen land.

The cost for all 130 acres is not yet known. However, the City Council is in the process now of considering an ordinance that would authorize the EDA to issue bonds up to $14 million, which would pay for the land and bond interest for the first two years.

The city hopes to recoup some of the property costs through the sale of land to the Department of Natural Resources. The DNR is considering parcels to protect the virgin, or untouched, shoreline on the eastern edge of the property, expand the Paul Bunyan Trail, and develop parkland.

Chattin said earlier this week that the DNR is compiling figures and is expected to get back to the city.