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Bemidji City Council: Carnegie presentation expected next week

A potential plan that would both allow for the expansion of public access television and the saving of Bemidji's historic Carnegie Library is expected to be presented next week.

No one issue was the focus of the Bemidji City Council meeting Monday evening, but a variety of topics were addressed, including the Carnegie, potential annexation discussions and the popularity of the Lake Bemidji waterfront for hosting summer events.

Mike Bredon, the executive director of Upstream TV, Bemidji's public access television station, approached the council, asking for a time that he could present a plan that would allow for the expansion of public and government access television while also preserving the 102-year-old Carnegie, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

"We have a proposal that, in my opinion, would be a good thing for the citizens and the council to at least consider," he said.

The council set the discussion for next Monday during a work session.

The Bemidji City Council in January voted 4-3 to stand by its September decision to plan for a future Library Park that would not include the Carnegie, which now houses the Bemidji Community Arts Center. The council at that time cited the costs that would be incurred to restore the aging building.

"A little more effort should be put into this one to save it," said LeRoy Stenstrom, a lifelong Bemidji resident who also addressed the council. "You've got to start saving some older buildings."

Bemidji Township annexation

City Attorney Al Felix said he sent a letter to attorney John J. Steffenhagen with Hellmuth & Johnson in Edina, Minn., who has been retained by Bemidji Township for annexation issues.

The city had been expecting to have two city councilors soon begin meeting on a committee with two Bemidji Township supervisors to discuss the annexation agreement and the boundaries that in 2004 were adopted as annexation areas.

But Steffenhagen last week let the city know he been retained by Bemidji Township.

The township had been expected to establish committee meeting dates, but none has yet been set.

Felix said a letter was sent Friday to Steffenhagen asking that the committee begin meeting and offering several potential dates.

"And if they have no intention to meet, to let us know," Felix said.

June 7th rally

The annual June 7th Youth Rally, organized every year by the Bemidji Youth Advisory Commission, this summer will be held at Bemidji City Park instead of the Lake Bemidji waterfront.

The rally, which will mark its 12th year, is always held on June 7, which this year will be a Thursday. Organizers with the Kraus-Anderson Walleye Classic will already be using the waterfront then for setup of the annual fishing tournament.

It was a conflict the BYAC knew it would encounter eventually, said Kevin Waldhausen, the council representative to the youth group.

While the softball fields may be in use at City Park by then, the youth rally will be held near and around the skate park and the pavilion.

"We can all coexist," Waldhausen said.