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New Beltrami County Fairgrounds building highlights historical impact

Organizer David Quam sets up a replica sign of a 1950s Forest Service sign near the site of a new building at the Beltrami County Fairgrounds beside the Pinewood fire tower. Groundbreaking will begin soon for the "Forestry Education Center." Monte Draper | Bemidji Pioneer1 / 2
A graphic of the new Forestry Education Center shows its logging appearance and location where it will be constructed at the Beltrami County Fairgrounds.2 / 2

BEMIDJI - A new building will soon grace the footprint beside the Pinewood fire tower.

The Beltrami County Agricultural Association and the manager of the Beltrami County Fairgrounds announced the Forestry Education Center will be constructed this summer with an opening and a ribbon cutting ceremony date set for the 2013 fair.

The building's front facade will be comprised of logs, while the sides and roof will be metal, according to organizer David Quam.

"The forest industry was and still is a vital part of our economy, it's only fitting we have a nice log front," Quam said.

The first phase was moving the Pinewood fire tower to the fairground in 2004. The second phase now is building the Forestry Education Center.

Quam said the funds for the project were made possible through grants from the George W. Neilson Foundation, Legacy funds and private donations.

"We were very close to the full fundraising we needed, but not the full amount, so we scaled back and eliminated having bathroom facilities in the building," Quam said.

The building will house a 1950's Ranger Station, displays from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Forestry Division, Red Lake Department of Natural Resources and the U. S. Forest Service.

It will also provide room for groups like the Master Gardner's and other horticulture clubs.

Quam said arrangements are being made for the state's DNR Fish and Wildlife division and a DNR wild fire prevention display.

Groundbreaking has been set for June 18.