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Pioneer Cheers & Jeers: Paving the way for future growth in Bemidji

The future of the Bemidji area should be defined by the people who call it home.

To that end, numerous meetings have garnered input from residents and stakeholders focused on shaping Bemidji’s priorities and determining a broad community vision.

What is most important to the area?

Most recently, a meeting focused on common and related themes – jobs, economic development and a business-friendly environment.

Other meetings have touched on various topics – like downtown, housing and land use – as part of a comprehensive planning process in the greater Bemidji area.

The process, sparked by the Minnesota Design Team’s visit last fall, aims to make the Bemidji area the most livable place it can be.

The public is encouraged to participate before the small group meetings end.

On Friday, two meetings are scheduled at Bemidji City Hall. At 1 p.m., transportation and land use will be discussed. Then, at 3 p.m., stakeholders will discuss parks and recreation/environmental quality.

There’s no application process to participate. Interested persons simply need to show up for the meetings.

The format offers an organic, grassroots method for residents to shape the area’s future and refine its planning process.

A large public meeting March 27 will offer the various committees an opportunity to present results to the greater public, who will then have another chance to give input.

The process, designed to be transparent and inclusive, will pave the way for future growth, development and priorities in the Bemidji area.

Electric barriers

All reasonable efforts to stop the northerly migration of Asian carp need to be made.

Last week, Rep. John Persell, DFL-Bemidji, spearheaded legislation to continue studying those efforts, including a potential electric barrier in the Mississippi River in St. Paul.

A bill directing the state Department of Natural Resources to contract for design work on an electric barrier passed the House Environment and Natural Resources Policy committee.

It’s good to see lawmakers work with urgency to protect our state’s waterways, a precious resource that shouldn’t be taken lightly.

The electric barriers may not be the only answer, but it’s one of several ideas that need to move forward to protect our natural resources.