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The Parks and Trails Commission on Tuesday decided to allocate $150,000 in sales-tax dollars toward the construction of a Bemidji skate park. Its recommendation will be forwarded to the City Council for its consideration during a future council meeting. The parks commission's decision was months in the making as local skate park supporters first pitched the plan to the commission in November.
A picture is worth a thousand words. After reviewing a visual of plans for the new Burger King, the Greater Bemidji Area Joint Planning Board overruled the recommendation from its joint planning commission and granted a variance allowing for less pervious surface at the site than the zoning ordinance requires.
Rick and Justin Whittington approached the Lake Irving boat access Saturday morning not expecting to find a parking space. They were worried for nothing as parking was pretty plentiful at the boat landing near the Wastewater Treatment Facility. Whether it was caused by the late ice-out or wet, cold conditions Saturday, Rick Whittington said the number of anglers was down Saturday morning. "There's usually 40-50 boats out here," he said, motioning to the dozen or so boaters on Lake Irving Saturday afternoon.
While anglers from the southern parts of the state might choose to delay a planned fishing trip to the area for a few weeks due to the late ice-out, the DNR expects that many local anglers will find their way to open water for today's 2008 fishing opener. "Local folks who are familiar, who know the area, will find places to go," said Gary Barnard, area fisheries supervisor with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
Jay Allen Lutgen, 20, of Bemidji, has pleaded guilty via an Alford Plea to third-degree criminal sexual conduct by force or coercion, a serious felony. The charge was amended from first-degree criminal sexual conduct involving a victim under the age of 13, also a serious felony.
Environmental work The City Council considered an agreement with Widseth Smith Nolting in which WSN would continue investigating a former oil tank leak site in the railroad corridor downtown.
The Bemidji City Council unanimously voted on Monday to expand the city's industrial park. The industrial park is proposed to expand south of Carr Lake Road Southeast and east of the North Central Door property, adding 68 acres to the Bemidji Industrial Park and create 38 industrial-use lots. The project will include construction of sanitary sewer, water main and roads. The industrial park, which was originally developed in 1974, currently contains more than 175 acres and houses 48 businesses, which employ more than 1,100 people.
The Bemidji City Council will want to be equipped with the best information possible in preparation for making decisions regarding development along the south shore of Lake Bemidji, said City Attorney Al Felix on Monday. Because of that, he urged the council to retain a consultant who would provide the city with estimates about the value of the land involved in the redevelopment. Gary Battuello of Ramsland and Vigen out of Duluth, Minn., has capped his costs at $6,500 to provide valuation estimates to the city, according to council documents.
The Bemidji City Council on Monday is expected to consider authorizing plans to expand the city's industrial park. The industrial park expansion plans would add 68 acres to the Bemidji Industrial Park and would include construction of sanitary sewer, water main and roads, according to a staff report from City Engineer Craig Gray. The estimated total cost is $2.7 million, Gray reported. The city and Bemidji Development Corporation obtained a $1.2 million from the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration.
Forward planning is paying off for the Minnesota Department of Transportation. Potential archeological findings recently were uncovered during roadwork and utility improvements along Bemidji Avenue North, according to Todd Vonasek, resident engineer with the Minnesota Department of Transportation. But, MnDOT had planned for such a possibility and earlier had retained an archeological consultant, who was on site when the items were recovered. Thanks to strong support from Bemidji State University, it was quickly determined that the items recovered were not human remains, Vonasek said during