Bemidji City Council Reviews Potential Plans for Neilson Reise Arena
The future of the historic Neilson Reise building is still up in the air following the Bemidji City Council’s regular meeting on Monday. Presented with seven different plans, the discussion between the Parks and Recreation department and the council focused on whether there are viable choices on what to do with the facility.
The Neilson Reise Arena closed its doors in April of 2020. Now, the uncertain future of this once-popular ice rink is on the minds of skating enthusiasts. The Bemidji City Council reviewed the results of a feasibility study in hopes of finding a conclusion to this two-year long discussion.
The study, conducted by 292 Design Group, came back with seven potential blueprints for the facility. The seven plans included with their estimated costs are:
- Option 1A: Equipment Storage at $2.1 Million to $2.4 Million
- Option 1B: Equipment Storage at $2 Million to $2.3 Million
- Option 2A: Basketball/Volleyball Courts at $3.8 Million to $4.2 Million
- Option 2B: Pickleball Courts at $4.3 Million to $4.8 Million
- Option 2C: Wrestling Mats at $4.3 Million to $4.8 Million
- Option 3A: Artificial Turf at $4.3 Million to $4.8 Million
- Option 4A: Demolish Ice Arena at $1.1 Million to $1.3 Million
Feedback from the city council varied on these initial options, as the state of the building is still the main issue.
Although the building is shut down, it needs to be heated as it shares a wall with the Bemidji Curling Club. The council did briefly discuss donating the building to the curling club or doing nothing. Either option would still cost money as the building is continuing to experience wear inside and out.
The city council made no action after reviewing the material, keeping plans for the arena on ice as future costs of other projects, such as repairing City Hall, are currently taking precedence. Public comment is encouraged, as this feedback may help the city council in reaching a conclusion about what to do next with the facility.