Those interested in providing feedback on the community's neighborhoods are invited to attend a meeting tonight.
Bemidji is undergoing a Quality Neighborhoods Initiative study that is examining the problems facing the community's neighborhoods. The study will conclude with an action plan.
From 6-9 p.m. tonight at United Methodist Church, 902 Beltrami Ave. N.W., the public may review maps and information, hear a presentation from study partners and discuss neighborhood issues.
An open house for reviewing maps and information will be at 6 p.m.; consultants and staff will give a presentation at 7 p.m.; and participants then will have a chance to discuss neighborhood issues at about 7:30 p.m.
"What we're trying to do is, No. 1, engage the community and find out what the real (problems) are," said Mel Milender, the planning administrator for the Greater Bemidji Area Joint Planning office.
Also, to find out what ideas residents have to address those issues, and to provide input on the kinds of tools available that could fix them.
"And then, after listening to all of that, work to put a plan together," Milender said.
Bonestroo, of St. Paul, was hired in November to complete the study. Since that time, the firm has been working to compile background, demographic and land use information and develop maps about the community.
The Bemidji City Council named a steering committee that worked with Bonestroo on the study, which is focusing on three main areas of neighborhoods: north and south of Bemidji State University, the area north of downtown and west of BSU, and the Nymore neighborhood on the south shore of Lake Bemidji.
Ideas already exist for addressing the issues, including the enforcement of codes.
The goal of the meeting, Milender said, is to get the community engaged in discussing the issues facing Bemidji communities.
"This has probably been going on for 15 to 20 years or more," he said. "This didn't happen overnight."
The issues have been talked about before, but no plan has ever been developed.
The community needs to examine its neighborhoods and get a definite plan developed, Milender said.