Bemidji Veterans Memorial Board Discusses Land Request with City Council
A session between the Bemidji City Council and the Freedom Defenders Veterans Memorial Board took place at City Hall on Monday to discuss a request for land by the board.
The Bemidji Freedom Defenders Veterans Memorial Board spoke in front of the city council during a work session to present ideas for a potential expansion to their current memorial. Located near the Rail Corridor, the area is also being considered for the development of a wellness center in partnership with Sanford Health.
City Manager Nate Mathews is working with the Veterans Memorial Board to help move the project along. He recognizes the current difficulty the city council has with balancing the large undertaking of the over $30 million wellness center project, but also advocates for the Veterans Memorial Board and their project to expand the memorial.
The area that the board is requesting measures just over 15,000 square feet. Proposed plans would develop the land into a veterans memorial garden, which would include statues, walkways, and benches.
Veterans Memorial Board Chairman Gary Guggenberger expressed his relief to be able to present these plans to the city council, despite the long time it took to do so.
The council members seemed to support the decision to expand the land around the memorial. However, any additions to the rail corridor would need to wait until soil pollution levels are reported.
The next steps for the Freedom Defenders Veterans Memorial Board is to talk with Bemidji’s Parks and Recreation Department and Greater Bemidji. The council’s next session is on Friday, March 18 to discuss ward boundaries.