Beltrami County Board hears number of comments on proposed jail site

The Beltrami County Board of Commissioners heard a number of comments relating to the location of the new jail site in their meeting Tuesday. Each community member was granted up to five minutes to address the board.

Comments from community members were largely critical of the jail site selection process, including from Red Lake High School shooting survivor and school safety advocate Missy Dodds.

Community member and former candidate for the Beltrami County Board Christian Taylor Johnson also pointed to disparities in policing.

Commissioner and acting board chair John Carlson said the site selection process wasn’t public for the purpose of property negotiations.

Commissioner and Board Chair Richard Anderson was absent from this meeting and the special meeting announcing the jail site last week, which was due to a long-planned vacation, according to Carlson.

The $540,000 deal with the Wiebolts for the 17-acre parcel just west of the Highway 2 bypass bridge on Jefferson Avenue SW is scheduled to be finalized in August, with the county intending to pursue zoning and use options through the Greater Bemidji Area Joint Planning Board this summer.

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