Downtown barricades here to stay this summer

The Bemidji City Council took no action to remove downtown barricades, meaning they’ll get to stay throughout the summer.

The barricades are already established around some downtown businesses, allowing them to expand outdoor seating into public rights-of-way such as parking spaces.

Since the state and the city are still under peacetime states of emergency amid the COVID-19 pandemic, city staff has more flexibility to operate around city codes and ordinances, to allow things such as alcoholic beverages inside those rights-of-way.

The council heard an update on the Highway 197 corridor study and listened to the merits of the two alternative plans presented.

One plan only includes a roundabout at the Menard’s intersection, and the other includes two more roundabouts at Hannah Avenue and Middle School Drive.

No formal action was taken on the Highway 197 project during Monday’s meeting. The final plan for the corridor will be presented in September.

The council approved an amendment hiring Bahr Engineering for the design of the water treatment plant’s second phase.

The second phase will expand capacity, and the first phase has been operational for about one month.

The council also authorized a grant application for the HRDC and the Nameless Coalition for the Homeless to retrofit a building into a homeless shelter via a Community Block Grant from Minnesota DEED.

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