LETTER TO THE EDITOR: We support the city council's efforts in trying to bring forth positive change
The following is a letter to the editor submitted by a reader and does not reflect the views of the Pioneer. Letters can be sent to email@example.com or P.O. Box 455, Bemidji, MN 56601.
On Jan. 17, a last-minute addition to the Bemidji City Council's agenda to review the city manager’s continued employment took some by surprise, but it was no surprise to those Bemidji businesses that have been dealing with the issues for years.
At the following city council meeting, many former city council members came forward to speak positively regarding Nate Mathew’s personality, integrity and community involvement. They also took this opportunity to admonish the current elected council and accuse them of being self-serving, persecuting city employees and making a power grab.
In reality, being a “nice guy” does not make a good city manager. Our duly-elected city officials seem to be the ones that are actually listening to Bemidji business owners and constituents, recognizing that there are issues that need to be addressed. These issues plaguing the city are not new and have been problematic since the previous administration.
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If you think that there is nothing wrong at city hall, look into the many businesses in the last year alone that have attempted to open in Bemidji and been turned away.
Look into our current businesses that are seeing some success and trying to expand and are told in no uncertain terms “NO.” Talk to businesses that have done construction and ask them about their costs that the city has caused to double or even triple.
Maybe even look into how many small projects are going on behind the scenes because it is widely known that trying to work with the city will get any project shut down.
How do we get to a place where new business is welcomed with a “Yes, you may need to take some steps but we will help guide you through it,” instead of the current and immediate “no” with no discussion or help?
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This is why businesses are leaving Beltrami County. The wish is simply to improve and grow in Bemidji while maintaining sometimes 100-plus-year-old buildings in a safe manner.
Bemidji is currently at a turning point. Either changes are made or the city continues a downward spiral of no new businesses being able to open, with more and more empty storefronts.
We fully support the city council, which recognizes this and is trying to effect some positive changes.
This letter was complied and signed by Kevin Johnson of myBemidji, Dave Smith of MJB Home Center, Jesse Milhem of War Ready Fight Shop/Royalty, Mitch Hill of BCA Concessions/Java Shack, Tricia Robinson of VRTX Laserworks/Minute59 Escape Rooms, Margaret Batchelder, Justin Schuver of Ridge Top Outdoors, Angie Behr of Ally’s Corner, Richard De La Hunt of Coyote Radio and Brittany Schuver of Keeping the Books.