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Bemidji City Council OK's Industrial park expansion

The Bemidji City Council unanimously voted on Monday to expand the city's industrial park.

The industrial park is proposed to expand south of Carr Lake Road Southeast and east of the North Central Door property, adding 68 acres to the Bemidji Industrial Park and create 38 industrial-use lots. The project will include construction of sanitary sewer, water main and roads.

The industrial park, which was originally developed in 1974, currently contains more than 175 acres and houses 48 businesses, which employ more than 1,100 people. With the expansion, the industrial park will encompass nearly 250 acres.

"The industrial park is growing," said Mayor Richard Lehmann, who added that the existing park has been added to several times during his time on the council. "This is a good situation to have for our community."

The estimated total cost of the expansion is $2.7 million, according to City Engineer Craig Gray. The city and Bemidji Development Corporation obtained a $1.2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration. Additional grants secured through the Department of Employment and Economic Development and Minnesota Investment Fund (also administered through DEED) will contribute $425,000 toward its cost.

The remaining balance will be paid by $300,000 in city storm water and water utility funds and $775,000 in assessments to the properties, according to a council report from Gray.

The Bemidji Development Corporation owns the bulk of the land in the expansion area, Gray said.