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Bemidji City Council: Bemidji Regional Event Center issues are on agenda

As construction of the Bemidji Regional Event Center approaches (work could begin as soon as Monday), the number of BREC items on council agendas is increasing.

During the regular council meeting on Monday, the council is expected to consider at least four BREC-related items.

The first will be ongoing discussion of the painting bid received for BREC work. The lowest bid, at $298,000, was from Jarl Pederson & Sons Inc. of Grand Forks, N.D. The bid was among six that were received for the work. It also was $122,850 less than the second-lowest bidder, Davis Drywall Inc.

But the integrity of the bid has been questioned, and the City Council has not yet made a decision on whether to accept it.

Additionally, more BREC construction bids will be presented to the council for consideration.

City Manager John Chattin also has asked the council to consider a contract with Wayzata, Minn.,-based Conventions, Sports & Leisure for assistance in securing a management firm for the BREC's operation.

The City County on Feb. 17 approved the development of a request for proposals in which the city would solicit proposals from firm interested in operating the BREC.

However, Chattin wrote in a summary to the council, he does not have the experience and depth required to formulate such an RFP.

Chattin contacted two consultants that could help provide the service, and CSL was the lowest bid at $17,000 (the other was from Agile OAK for $114,900).

Staff also is proposing to the City Council that it consider approving a virtual tour of the BREC from Leo A Daly at a cost of $15,000 to the city.

The tour would allow the city to better market the property and promote event bookings, Chattin wrote in a summary to the council.

It also would help BSU with its proposal to enter the Western Collegiate Hockey Association and VisitBemidji's desire to invite conventions.

The total cost would be $45,000, of which BSU and VisitBemidji already has agreed to contribute $15,000 each, according to Chattin.

The virtual tour would offer views of the entire south shore site, the BREC, convention space, lobby areas, lake views, meeting rooms, conference room and arena, suites, press box, lounger are and hockey facilities.