Bemidji City Council Voices Concerns Over Rail Corridor Plans
The role of the Bemidji City Council for the rail corridor project was discussed last night at a special work session. Hearing from members of different businesses and organizations that will play major roles in developing and running the possible wellness center, the council had a chance to voice concerns over what could transpire if the project does not go as planned.
The council had plenty of questions regarding the financing of the project, as the city would have an anticipated $10 million in infrastructure costs. These include water mains, road work, sewers, and sidewalks.
Other concerns came from how much the community would be involved and impacted by the introduction of a wellness center to the downtown area. Councilors Audrey Thayer and Emelie Rivera and Mayor Jorge Prince all voiced concerns about the possible gentrification of the area and what might happen.
Councilor At Large Daniel Jourdain asked about what might happen if Native American artifacts or remains are found during the soil excavation. The representatives for the rail corridor development project stated that they do have a team of cultural resource consultants. They also state that no artifacts have been found on the excavation site, but they will keep watch as they conduct further studies.
No formal action was taken by the city council during the meeting. Opportunities for community involvement will be held in the near future. For now, the project leaders said they will continue to reach out to the tribes and other communities of Bemidji.