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Bemidji City Council: Menards signal light approved; mayor complains about number of stoplights

A new signal light will be installed along with the new Menards store along Paul Bunyan Drive - but Bemidji Mayor Richard Lehmann isn't happy about it.

"I know Menards is picking up the tab ... but I just don't think traffic flows well through the city," Lehmann said Monday during the regular City Council meeting.

The council voted unanimously to approve a resolution with the Minnesota Department of Transportation for the signal light, which will be placed at the Menard's entrance.

Menards plans to break ground in 2010 and open in 2011 on the former Spaulding Motors site along Paul Bunyan Drive Northwest.

A Menards spokesman said the company does not comment to the media on future development plans, but previously the company was planning a 240,000-square-foot center.

Lehmann said he wanted to pull the resolution from the consent agenda, but decided not to. He previously has made comments opposing the number of Bemidji signal lights and believed the public is aware of his feelings on the matter.

"I do not like them," he said.

Specifically, he said the signal lights at 15th Street Northwest/Bemidji Avenue North and 15th Street Northwest/ Irvine Avenue North should be considered for removal.

Councilor Greg Negard said he takes issue with the timing of the stoplights, noting, specifically, that a driver could stop at Second, Third and Fifth streets.

"None of them has a decent timing," he said.