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Bemidji City Council: City eyes Tyler Estates as spring approaches

Along with the anticipation of spring come concerns with possible flooding.

In the Bemidji area, one of the areas most heavily affected by springtime snowmelt in recent years has been the Tyler Estates/Tyler Hills development.

The Bemidji City Council Monday night voted 6-0 to take over management of a stormwater pond that helps serve that area.

City Attorney Al Felix said springtime snowmelt will be occurring in about three weeks, or more, from now.

"This stormwater pond ... has been an integral part of dealing with that snowmelt," he said.

The Tyler Estates area last spring suffered heavy flooding.

Since then, the Greater Bemidji Area Joint Planning office has taken steps to make that area eligible for participation in the National Flood Insurance Program through the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Pete Hartmann, whose Tyler Estates home had more than 5 feet of water in the lower level last spring, thanked the joint planning office for its NFIP efforts.

"I understand the process is at least close enough where we could start to apply soon," he said.

Felix said the joint planning staff has worked through several obstacles and is now facing another.

Funding for the NFIP runs through FEMA, whose funding is currently held up in the congressional process.

"The program is currently in hiatus," Felix said, referencing an e-mail he received this week.

The hope is that program funding will be restored in a matter of days, Felix said.

Hartmann also asked the council if contact people have been identified in case flooding does become a concern this spring.

Craig Gray, the city's public works director/city engineer, said a meeting has been planned for Tuesday morning with the Beltrami County Emergency Management department to discuss flooding issues. Gray said he would share the results of that meeting with Hartmann.