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Erickson eyes another four years to help city overcome challenges

Nancy Erickson for web.jpg
Nancy Erickson
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BEMIDJI -- Nancy Erickson had been considering finishing her time on the Bemidji City Council as the Ward 5 representative at the end of 2020.

However, last week she chose to campaign for another four-year term and see projects the city is working on through to the end.

"A year or so ago, I knew that I would've served 16 of the last 20 years and perhaps it would be time for someone else to step in," Erickson said. "Then, Mike Beard resigned, and Jim (Thompson) became sick, and I thought the history of the issues facing the city need to be preserved on the council."

Erickson, 73, was originally on the council from 2000-2008. Then, she returned in 2012 and won another term in 2016, defeating Don Heinonen 682-664. Before Erickson completed the paperwork, Heinonen filed for Ward 5 first, and had been the only person to do so. This ended up being another matter pushing Erickson to run again.

"People should have a choice," Erickson said. "I think when a seat opens, there should be opposition, so I filed on Friday."

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If she's re-elected, Erickson said she will focus on current affairs, rather than start new initiatives in the immediate future.

"I have no new projects or goals at the moment, because I know we already have big issues to solve," Erickson said. "We have to update the wastewater treatment plant, that's vital. We have to solve the well issue, that's another. And the Sanford Center could become another financial issue."

The water well issue Erickson mentioned is in reference to a new treatment plant the city is building near its water wells, close by the Bemidji Regional Airport. The plant will be designed to treat chemicals formerly found in firefighting foams that have gone into the wells. The estimated cost of the plant is $16.3 million, and the city is hoping to get $8 million in state bonding money and additional support from a 0.5% sales tax increase.

The revenue generated from the increase would also go toward improvements at the wastewater treatment plant to meet new guidelines and to keep up with capital improvement costs at the city-owned event facility, the Sanford Center.

Outside of city government, Erickson is a retired accountant with a degree from BSU.

Matthew Liedke is a reporter for the Bemidji Pioneer. He is originally from International Falls and now resides in Bemidji. He's a 2009 graduate of Rainy River Community College and a 2012 graduate of Minnesota State University Moorhead. At the Pioneer, he covers government, politics, health and economic development. He can be reached at (218) 333-9791 or by email at mliedke@bemidjipioneer.com.
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