Bemidji City Council votes to extend Curling Club lease, open to discussing leasing the entire Neilson Reise Arena

The Bemidji City Council voted to extend the Bemidji Curling Club’s lease on half of the Nelson Reise Arena and to continue discussions of leasing the entire building to the Club.

The Club came to the council with a capital improvements request to paint and some other exterior projects on half the building, but that wasn’t included in the motion that passed 5-2.

Parks and Recreation Director Marcia Larson suggested the council look at the Neilson Reise Arena as a whole and about the future of this city-owned, 55-year-old building.

The Curling Club and the city received a Mighty Ducks grant a number of years ago to give the Club a “home,” a grant that is still an obligation, as is the maintenance of the city-owned building.

The city-operated half of the facility hasn’t been open since March 2020, and the estimated costs to renovate it into something else could cost up to $4 million.

In other business, the council heard the Beltrami County Jail project presentation from Sheriff Ernie Beitel and Administrator Tom Barry.

Input is being sought on which direction the county board should go, whether it is building a new jail or building a regional facility, among five other options.

More information on the presentation as well as opportunities to provide comments are available at the project portal website.

The county board will hold a special meeting this Thursday, Sept. 22, beginning at 5 p.m. in the County Board Room.

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