Weather Forecast


Bemidji to use funds to upgrade smaller neighborhood parks

Bemidji State University student Heather Schmitt dodges the water puddles at City Park’s outside ring on Thursday afternoon as temps soared into the 40s. Monte Draper | Bemidji Pioneer

BEMIDJI – Despite the lack of sales tax money to spend on park improvements this year, the city still has some plans in the works.

The city has $30,000 dedicated toward improvements at Algoma Park, which was annexed into Bemidji from Northern Township over the summer. Another $40,000 for parks has been set aside in the city’s Capital Improvement Plan.

The local sales and use tax was implemented in 2006 and was used for park and trail improvements for up to $9.8 million.

“We did large scale park redevelopment, whereas now we’re probably investing smaller amounts of money to have impact on our smaller neighborhood parks,” Parks and Recreation Director Marcia Larson said.

The Parks and Trails Commission recently hosted a meeting to gather input on Algoma Park improvements. Larson said there was strong support for renovating the softball field there. She added that at the very least, new benches and garbage cans will be put in, but things like playground equipment will also be looked at.

Some leftover lumber from fallen trees at Diamond Point Park from the July 2 storm will be used to build a shelter at Nymore Park this year, Larson said. That park lost 45 trees and a lot of shade during the storm but some more trees have been planted, Larson added.

“I have heard … since that storm complaints from people who frequent that park with their children and they have no shady spot,” Ward 5 Councilor Nancy Erickson said.

The city also plans to continue construction of North County Park, which is located on 30th Street Northwest.

Thanks to a $1,500 grant from the Minnesota Department of Health, the city has plans to build a community garden at the police training center on Rako Street this year. Anyone can apply to use the garden, and preference will be given to city residents, Larson said.

“It’s an expansion of our Nymore Park community garden,” Larson said.

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.  

(701) 255-5607