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Battling events: BYAC ponders potential impact of Battle of the Bands

"I love these kinds of events. I just wish it was a different day."

So stated Bemidji City Councilor Kevin Waldhausen, who wondered Monday evening whether a planned Battle of the Bands competition could be moved to a different date.

Waldhausen, the council representative on the Bemidji Youth Advisory Commission, raised a concern voiced by the BYAC about the potential of a conflict with the planned June 7 Battle of the Bands and the BYAC's annual June 7 Youth Rally.

The free rally, targeted at high school-aged teens, features multiple band appearances, including local and metropolitan-based bands.

The BYAC is worried that the Battle of the Bands, which includes cash prizes and the chance to advance to a larger championship round, will affect band participation in the Youth Rally.

Representatives from the Battle of the Bands were open to suggestions to improve the situation. They invited BYAC to advertise the event at the Battle of the Bands and to staff a booth, like other nonprofits, to publicize its group and mission.

But changing the date for this year will not happen. City Clerk Kay Murphy said booking has been for the Lake Bemidji waterfront and it would be unlikely that the event could be changed, especially since the Battle of the Bands is being scheduled for five cities, including Bemidji, throughout north central Minnesota.

Everyone agreed, though, that it would be in the best interest of the BYAC and the Battle of the Bands if the two events could be planned in the future - assuming the Battle of the Bands becomes an annual event - to complement one another.

The site request from SC Entourage for the Battle of the Bands was set to be considered during the council's consent agenda, but Waldhausen pulled it for discussion. Councilors unanimously voted to approve.

The council also voted unanimously to sell $4.76 million in bonds that will fund the new digester building at the Wastewater Treatment Plant.

The bonds were sold to City Group at a rate of 4.099 percent. Three bids were received on the 15-year bonds.

The council also voted unanimously to expand the target area eligible for Small Cities Development funds.

The city does not have enough applicants interested to doll out available funds. It was recommended that the target area be expanded to fit the downtown definition used by the Downtown Development Authority.

The Small Cities Development program allows for deferred payment loans for building improvements.

The city first received Small Cities Development funds in 2007, which helped fund 17 building improvements.

In 2010, the city again was awarded funds. Since then, four applications have been received for the funds, including some from outside the target area.

The council voted to amend the boundaries to include the isthmus - the business-filled median along Bemidji Avenue North between the traditional downtown and the south shore - and a block of land between First and Second streets northwest and Beltrami Avenue Northwest, and a southern parcel of land along Railroad Street Southwest.

The Department of Employment and Economic Development also will need to approve the boundary change.