Bemidji City Council discusses city role in developing Rail Corridor in special work session

Featured photo: A conceptual drawing of a possible Wellness District in the current Rail Corridor. No formal action was taken during Tuesday’s special meeting.

The Bemidji City Council met for a special meeting Tuesday to discuss a report on developing the Rail Corridor.

According to a recap from City Manager Nate Mathews, the consulting report looked into the city’s role in developing a Sanford Health Wellness Center, which would not be owned by the city.

The city would have an anticipated $10 million in public infrastructure costs to develop the site, such as streets, waterlines, sewers and sidewalks.

Mathews said that a tax-increment financing district for the site would be feasible to pay for those costs.

The city has owned the rail corridor for around 20 years, and it is a brownfield site that would have significant clean-up costs to move contaminated soils either into berms or off-site.

Mathews said the city council indicated there would be opportunities for public involvement on this topic in the near future.

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