What’s coming for Paul and Babe?

The Bemidji City Council held a lengthy meeting Monday, and a large topic of discussion centered around potential renovations needed at Paul Bunyan plaza.

Paul Bunyan Park was redesigned in 2015, with an initial plan for natural landscape items, such as boulders and an earthen mound, was scrapped after public outcry, and a large concrete slab poured instead.

Now, City Manager Nate Mathews says there are some water and drainage issues near the historic statues, which are reportedly the second-most photographed attraction in the United States.

Mathews also indicated that the statues themselves are in need of some repairs.

The project cost for the statue repair is estimated to be around $25,000, and the drainage issue is expected to be around $8,500.

The contractor for the statue conservation will be Jensen Conservation Services, an outfit out of Nebraska that specializes in historic statues, and Freeberg & Grund contracted for the irrigation-type work.

Other business the council discussed Monday, including several other items pulled from the consent agenda:

  • A split vote to approve Mayor Jorge Prince on to the Beltrami County Jail Steering Committee, a 4-3 split. Mathews says some of the council members were uncomfortable with that assignment.
  • Reierson Construction was awarded the bid for the 2021 Street Renewal Project. Mathews says the council held a “healthy” debate on the matter on whether or not Reierson was the responsible bidder. The bid was awarded on a 5-2 vote.
  • NLFX was awarded a contract to upgrade the city’s audio-visual equipment in council chambers.
  • A joint powers agreement concerning sex trafficking prevention with Enbridge and the City of Bemidji. Council member Nancy Erickson voted against it.



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