City officials and business owners meet in forum

Featured photo, from left: City Manager Nate Mathews, Mayor Jorge Prince, and incoming HRDC director Ryan Zemek.

Mayor Jorge Prince and City Manager Nate Mathews were the main speakers at a business forum hosted by the Bemidji Area Chamber of Commerce.

The forum, moderated by incoming HRDC director Ryan Zemek, discussed many different facets of relationships with the business community and the city, but a recurring grievance in numerous cases related to planning and zoning.

City Manager Nate Mathews said he suspects a lot of the negative narrative around doing business with the city relates to Joint Planning Board.

While many other council members and city staffers were present at the meeting, they did not participate with respect to Open Meeting Laws, a point Mayor Jorge Prince brought up about the rules and regulations elected officials and the city itself must follow.

After about an hour of general prepared questions, business owners in the audience were able to ask specific questions, such as stormwater, downtown parking, development in the industrial park, homelessness, crime, and TIF districts.

Larissa Donovan is the News Director for the stations of Paul Bunyan Broadcasting and has been, almost without interruption, since Election Day 2016. She covers all the beats in north-central Minnesota, such as local government, crime, education, environment and social issues. She studied communications at Bemidji State University. You can follow along with Larissa's live tweets of meetings and events on Twitter!

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