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Bemidji City Council to consider NCHS parkland at Monday evening

The city of Bemidji is poised to accept 18 acres of land from North Country Health Services for the creation of a new city park.

NCHS, following several months of meetings, has proposed a parkland dedication of 18 acres that would cover all future development for NCHS.

The land being discussed is along 30th Street Northwest. In recent meetings, it has been referred to as "Ridgeway Park."

The Bemidji City Council will consider the agreement during its regular meeting at 7 p.m. Monday at City Hall, 317 Fourth St. N.W.

"It is mutually beneficial for both the city and the NCHS to agree to a one-time dedication as it will enable the city to better meet current unmet recreation needs in the community and at the same time, enabling NCHS to satisfy parkland dedication at one time," wrote Marcia Larson, the city's parks and recreation director, in a description of the agenda item.

NCHS is required to dedicate 4.3 acres of parkland due to its Nielson Place expansion, but has 150.84 total acres of undeveloped land set aside for future needs. The 18 acres of parkland, if accepted, would cover all future parkland dedication requirements of development.

NCHS has proposed the dedication of the 18 acres with the following conditions:

- That an easement be provided on the east and west borders of the property.

- That NCHS be given consideration for a naming opportunity for the park.

- That a recorded agreement will state that the 18-acre parcel will fulfill future parkland dedication obligations by NCHS.

City and joint planning staff and the Parks and Trails Commission recommend approval of the NCHS proposal, Larson wrote.

City Park

The council also will consider approval of the plans and specifications for the renovations for Bemidji City Park, located along 23rd Street Northwest adjacent to the Bemidji Curling Club.

The Bemidji Skate Park is scheduled to be located in the new City Park, but its plans will be bid separately from the entire City Park project.

The City Park project will result in a four-field softball diamond, 18-hole disc golf course, a multi-use building, a hockey rink, improved ski trails and other amenities, including a playground and picnic area.

The estimated cost for the next phase of park work is $2.5 million, which will come from the city's half-cent sales tax.

The next phase of construction is scheduled to begin June 1 and conclude by Oct. 31.

The skate park project is set to be built in phases: Phase 1 is estimated to be $320,000 and Phase 2 is an additional $160,000. The second phase will be bid as an alternate bid. Funding for this project has come from local fundraising efforts and grants ($166,000) and local sales-tax funds ($150,000).

Also on agenda...

In other business, the council will consider the following:

- A request to hold the annual Kraus-Anderson Walleye Classic on Lake Bemidji, utilizing the waterfront and Library Park area. The event is scheduled to be June 12 with setup beginning June 8.

- A request to host the 2010 All School Reunion in various locations downtown as alumni from Bemidji high School will be invited to congregate and celebrate. A street dance is scheduled for Aug. 14. The request is that retail liquor licenses be extended to allow current license holders to serve alcohol outside of their premises - and that the city allow individuals to carry alcoholic beverages anywhere within the areas identified. City staff has developed eight conditions in conjunction with the request.

BEDA meeting

The Bemidji Economic Development Authority - which is composed of City Council members - will hold a special meeting at 6 p.m., before the regular council meeting, to hear a presentation from a potential south shore developer.