Further development at airport hinges on infrastructure

The Bemidji City Council discussed possibly allowing an extension of a dead-end water main at the airport in their work session Monday.

The Bemidji Airport Authority is its own taxing entity and is not requesting city funds for this project.

John Knorr, Chair of the Bemidji Airport Authority, gave a lively presentation of the benefits the $10 million expansion of Bemidji Aviation Services would bring to the community.

Knorr said looping the water main would add an additional $2 million in expenses to the already $3 million needed to expand utilities for the development, but proposed a hybrid option that would flush the water main as often as needed to maintain water quality.

City Engineer Craig Gray emphasized in a memo and in the meeting that extending the dead-end water main with so few users was “expensive and short-sighted.”

Gray and his staff reportedly tested the current dead-end main on Thursday and on Monday and found that initially, the chlorine level was 25 percent or less than recommended, but the water had safe levels of chlorine after about an hour of flushing at the hydrant.

The council took no formal action during Monday’s work session.


Larissa Donovan was the News Director for the stations of Paul Bunyan Broadcasting and has been, almost without interruption, since Election Day 2016, through July 2023. She covered 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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