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Bemidji City Council: Councilors to review Sanford Center project

The Sanford Center plans on renovating the Lakeview rooms, which will allow for more booking flexibility. The City Council will consider a construction bid during Tuesday’s meeting. Layout courtesy of the Sanford Center

BEMIDJI – The Bemidji City Council will review a proposed remodeling project at the Sanford Center during its regular meeting Tuesday night.

The meeting was moved from Monday due to President’s Day.

The project consists of remodeling the Lakeview rooms on the north side of the Sanford Center, which are used for various events.

The council will be asked to consider awarding the construction bid to Kraus Anderson Construction Co., which submitted the lowest of eight bids for the renovation at $110,900.

That money will come out of the city’s Sanford Center contingency fund, said city manager John Chattin, who sits on the Sanford Center Advisory Board.

The project is scheduled to be completed by May 24.

The main component of the project is removing the permanent wall that divides the four rooms down the middle and replacing it with a folding partition wall. That will allow for more event booking flexibility, said Mike Cronin, the director of facility operations at the Sanford Center.

“It allows for a lot more flexibility and to use that space better,” Cronin said.

According to a memo to the city council from Cronin, removing the wall will create a 4,000-square-foot space. It will also help fix a booking issue in which two conferences were lost because the ballroom was occupied but they needed a larger space than the Lakeview rooms, as well as losing three weddings because the bride wanted a view and access to the patio.

The combined lost revenue from those events was estimated at $44,000, Cronin wrote.

The project also includes adding four doors to the outdoor patio overlooking Lake Bemidji, adding shade to one of the rooms, and adding rolling shade controls to exit doors from two of the rooms.

rural fire association

A request to extend the current contract between the city and the rural fire association by three years will be on the city council’s consent agenda Tuesday.

The extension contains no changes to the terms of the agreement.

Dave Hoefer, Bemidji’s fire chief, said it will give both sides time to continue exploring the concept of a fire protection district in the Bemidji area. Hoefer and city officials are currently pursuing legislation that would allow them to implement the fee that would fund that entity.

The plan had been to start the new joint entity at the beginning of 2014, when the current agreement expires.

“If the optimist in me says we’d like to have something a year from now, the realist in me says it’s going to take a couple years,” Hoefer said.

Hoefer said they could still start the fire district before the proposed extension expires on Dec. 31, 2016.

Other actions

- The council will have its first reading of a taproom ordinance Tuesday.

- The fire department is requesting an emergency power generator for the fire station and city hall. 

- The council will discuss possible solutions to loud outdoor music at the Blue Ox Bar and Grill during a public affairs meeting at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday.

John Hageman

John Hageman covers North Dakota politics from the Forum News Service bureau in Bismarck. He attended the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities, where he studied journalism and political science, and he previously worked at the Grand Forks Herald and Bemidji Pioneer.  

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