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A new place to call home: Park Place Apartments officially opens during Friday ceremony

Some present for the ribbon cutting were Mayor Rita Albrecht, County Administrator Kay Mack, Minnesota Housing Commissioner Mary Tingerthal, Greater Minnesota Housing Fund President Warren Hanson, HRDC Executive Director Tim Flathers, Center City Housing Corporation Executive Director Rick Klun, and Red Lake Assistant Executive Director Linda McGraw-Adams. (Jordan Shearer | Bemidji Pioneer)1 / 2
Center City Housing Corporation Executive Director Rick Klun speaks to a gathering on Thursday to mark the completion of the Park Place Apartments. (Jordan Shearer | Bemidji Pioneer)2 / 2

BEMIDJI -- The atmosphere in downtown Bemidji was charged and optimistic Friday morning, as government officials, organization personnel and business leaders celebrated the opening of Park Place Apartments.

The complex, managed by the Duluth-based Center City Housing Corp., includes 60 units, with 40 dedicated to single-room occupancy for those with chronic substance abuse problems and 20 efficiency apartments for the recently homeless. The goal of the development is to give safe housing to those individuals while facilitating their needs through off-premise services such as addiction treatment and mental health care.

“We’re talking about 60 places where people who have been living outside can move in,” said Minnesota Housing Commissioner Mary Tingerthal, who attended Friday’s ceremony. “It’s a place where they’ll have a safe, sound place to live and a staff that will be able to help them address other issues in their life.”

Located at 598 Third St. NW., the complex cost $7 million to build, and the project as a whole is estimated at about $10.8 million. Center City Housing Executive Director Rick Klun said the financing came from numerous sources and is used for three different purposes: construction, operation and services provided.

Once operational, the complex will have about 20 employees working, including a registered nurse from Sanford Health and a case manager from Sanford Behavioral Health.

“We started notifying people of pre-applications last week throughout the community,” Klun said. “We’ve got people who’ve completed their paperwork, and we can start moving people in as early as next Monday.”

“We’re very excited about what is going to happen here,” said Bemidji Mayor Rita Albrecht. “The city is honored to be part of this project and to have worked with Center City Housing. When we had the groundbreaking, one of the things I said was that everyone deserves a safe place to lay their head. I still believe that and we’ve proved that here today.”

“I think the large turnout today says that Bemidji, as a community, was ready for a project like this,” Klun said. “None of these projects are easy, but this one went very, very smoothly because of everyone working so well with us.”

According to Tingerthal, the positive work done in Bemidji to create Park Place can serve as a model for Minnesota moving forward.

“I’m really hopeful. We have a proposal in next (legislative) session’s bonding bill to fund more projects like this,” Tingerthal said. “I think that Bemidji can really be an example of other communities and we can get the word out through organizations like the Minnesota League of Cities, showing that this works.”

Matthew Liedke

Matthew Liedke is the city, county and state government reporter for the Bemidji Pioneer. He also covers business, politics and financial news.

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