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A relocation to the south shore of Lake Bemidji has resurrected the events center project. Mayor Richard Lehmann announced Wednesday that the city of Bemidji has made an offer to purchase nearly 130 acres of land from ShoreQuest owner John Zacher and neighboring landowners in order to locate the events center on the south shore of Lake Bemidji. Negotiation are continuing, so the price of the offer is not public, Lehmann said. Officials stressed that the project would have died had a new location not been chosen. "If the City Council didn't make this decision, (the proposal) was stalled," s
"A double blow." That's what Patrick Donnay, president of the Downtown Development Authority, called Wednesday's announcement that the events center would be proposed to be located on the south shore and not downtown. The city not only canceled a redevelopment strategy for downtown, but it also is advocating for what will likely create a competing business district, Donnay said. "I represent the downtown businesses, and for us, this is a double blow," he said. Officials on Wednesday pledged that they would work with the downtown businesses to identify a revitalization plan for downtown.
After more than two weeks of speculation, answers on the proposed events center are expected this afternoon. The city of Bemidji has announced a press conference for today at 3 p.m. in the Council Chambers at City Hall. It is open to the public. City Manager John Chattin confirmed Tuesday that the press conference will address the events center. Details of what will be covered were not offered. The city has held two closed-door meetings this month to discuss the potential acquisition of property on the south shore of Lake Bemidji.
The city of Bemidji will hold a press conference at 3 p.m. Wednesday to discuss the proposed events center project, City Manager John Chattin said today. The press conference will be held in the Council Chambers at Bemidji City Hall. It is open to the public. Meanwhile, the Bemidji Woolen Mills is hosting a "Downtown Regional Events Center Dedication" at 4 p.m. Wednesday at the Freedom Defenders War Memorial, located at the south end of Minnesota Avenue in downtown Bemidji.
The battle between Harry Takhar and Bemidji Township continues. The Greater Bemidji Area Joint Planning Commission voted unanimously on Thursday to recommend denial of a conditional use permit that would have allowed Takhar to operate offices of Justice Enterprises L.L.C.
Recent decisions made by the Bemidji City Council have impacted the city's ability to repair and restructure streets, the city's engineers said Monday. This summer, councilors voted in favor of a 9.9 percent levy increase, which replaces the $260,000 lost in Local Government Aid for next year. Additionally, the council voted previously to transfer liquor store profits and utility fees to the general fund - both of which had been used to fund street maintenance. The council on Oct. 8 voted to pursue raising gas and electric fees by 50 percent.
A lot can change in two weeks. The Bemidji Area Chamber of Commerce two weeks ago held a meeting in which the business community expressed unanimous support of the proposed events center. During a follow-up meeting on Wednesday, that support was questionable. So what changed? The council now is reportedly considering relocating the events center project from downtown to the south shore of Lake Bemidji, according to Chamber of Commerce President Mike Smith. The City Council has met twice since Oct. 15 in closed sessions to discuss the potential purchase of land.
Word Weavers, an online group for authors, poets and others interested in literature, has selected Bemidji author and playwright Roy C. Booth as the Featured Author of the Week. "I'm excited about it," Booth said. Word Weavers members meet to share ideas, post news and tidbits, and promote different literary works, usually in the fields of science fiction, horror or mystery. The online group, accessible at myspace.com/weaversofword, offers a blog, book reviews and trading card program.
The city's new public works facility is being constructed to accommodate future growth. The project may not be glamorous, like the Diamond Point Park reconstruction, but it will result in a functional facility, said Public Works Director Andy Mack. "This is the nuts and bolts," he said. "This is where the work gets done." The nearly $8 million facility, located north of Fifth Street Northwest, is expected to be done by Aug. 1, 2008, although city employees may begin occupying the building late next spring, Mack said.
The Bemidji City Council is eyeing the south shore. The council met during a 90-minute closed meeting on Monday to discuss the potential acquisition of land on the southeast shore of Lake Bemidji. City Attorney Al Felix offered a recap of the council meeting in which he stated that the council has directed City Manager John Chattin to negotiate with the property owners to acquire some, if not all, of the land on the southeast shore. The council is looking at all of the property on the southeast shore, but whether the city of Bemidji ends up buying "part of or all of it in the end" remains t