Weather Forecast


Birchmont Drive closed for Diamond Point Park cleanup

Professional log home builders Nathan Heim de-limb branches from a Norway pine Monday morning at Diamond Point Park while Ron Heim loads the timber. The massive cleanup of 70 trees at the park had the sections of Birchmont Road closed. Monte Draper | Bemidji Pioneer

BEMIDJI - Diamond Point Park will stay closed to the public while cleanup from the July 2 storm, a process that could take the entire week or longer.

The park, one of the hardest hit spots in the city, lost almost half of its trees from the July 2 storm that brought 80 mph straight-line winds.

According to a press release from Police Chief Mike Mastin, Birchmont Drive will be closed from 16th to 19th streets Northwest from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. today while crews continue cleanup at the park. It closed at 9 a.m. Monday to aid cleanup at the park.

Mastin is asking the public to stay out of the park while cleanup continues and reminds motorists and pedestrians to find alternate routes, according to the press release.

City Manager John Chattin said Monday that he didn't know yet when cleanup would be finished at Diamond Point.

"They worked on taking out the big logs (Monday)," Chattin said. "They started Saturday and will be here until (today)."

The crews didn't know if the root balls from the uprooted trees would be able to be pushed back in, Chattin said.

"Even once we get the trees and brush off, we still have two huge holes from the root balls," Chattin said. "We don't want people to fall in if we can't push the root balls back in."

If he had to set a goal, Chattin said he would like Diamond Point to be open by the end of the week.

"I don't know if that's realistic," Chattin said. "It really is day to day. We'll know better as each day goes along."

The city still doesn't know the cost of the damage to Diamond Point. Chattin said the insurance adjuster will assess the park next week. A couple of the parks gazebos received considerable damage from the storm.

Parks and Recreation Director Marcia Larson did not return calls requesting comment.