Council approves MnDOT 2022 plans for Highway 71

The Bemidji City Council approved MnDOT’s Highway 71 construction plan for 2022 during their meeting Monday. MnDOT is proposing a roundabout on the Anne Street intersection, with six reduced conflict intersections along the highway.

Ward 2’s Josh Peterson was the sole vote against the plan, citing a concern for businesses currently existing on the corridor that use heavy machinery.

The city’s expected cost share for the project is about $311,000, with City Engineer Craig Gray stating that additional state dollars may be available for the city’s share, otherwise it will come from the street improvement fund.

The city owns the west “leg” of the Anne Street intersection, and four of the six RCIs are on city intersections.

The council also approved a resolution to expand outdoor dining for downtown restaurants.

The outdoor spaces will not be as expansive as they were last summer, with the Bar 209 area able to use parking spaces along Minnesota Avenue, not the entire block between 2nd and 3rd Streets like last summer.

The five-feet of sidewalk space needed for ADA-accessibility and pedestrian use will need to be more strongly enforced, said Gray.

The council also approved a memorandum of understanding with the Bemidji Community Arena for a Parks employee to assist the BCA in meeting summer ice needs, as well as joint powers agreements for two segments of the Paul Bunyan State Trail with the DNR.

The council rejected a motion to write off and dismiss a $6,800 water bill at the old Fademasters building, with At-Large representative Dan Jourdain and Ward 4’s Emelie Rivera the only supporting votes.



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