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Bemidji City Council to discuss park plan

BEMIDJI – Monday’s city council work session will be all about parks.

The council will be presented a recommendation from the parks and trails commission to implement its master plan for Paul Bunyan Park in phases, starting in 2014.

The first part of the Library/Paul Bunyan Park project will focus on the area known as the Third Street spine. It includes closing the parking lot exit onto Third Street and improving the central area plaza area.

The recommendation to phase in the master plan comes after the city was notified at the end of 2012 by the state its Legacy grant application was not funded.

The total cost of the redeveloping Library/Paul Bunyan Park is about $2.9 million to $3.4 million, with only about $725,000 remaining from the half-percent local sales tax for the park.

“The consensus of the Commission is to redevelop the park at one time and not in phases,” Marcia Larson, the city’s parks and recreation director, wrote in a memo to the council. “However due to the costs exceeding the amount of sales tax funding currently available, the Commission is recommending a phased approach.” 

The parks and trails commission is also recommending that the city approve a proposal for a consultant to determine the cost and process of cleaning the south shore beach of wood debris Larson’s memo describes this as “an integral part of determining the design and costs of the South Shore/Nymore Beach.”

City engineer Craig Gray received proposals from two firms in June 2011 to help the city remove wood debris from the south shore of Lake Bemidji, he wrote in a memo to the council.

“This would be the first step towards the development of a swimming beach as part of the South Shore Development,” he wrote.

At the time, the council took no action on the either proposal.

The work session will be followed by the regular city council meeting at 7 p.m. Monday, which was postponed due to weather March 18.

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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