Railroad Corridor Plan Slowly Moves Forward
It is a small step forward for a large scale project that has been many years in the making. After sharing his plan and vision for Bemidji’s railroad corridor, Bemidji business owner Mitch Rautio was looking to the Bemidji City Council to jump on board with his plan that would feature everything from housing, and retail space to office space and green space. Some council members share Rautio’s vision and said now is the time to act.
A project this large would dramatically change the culture of Bemidji, and would expand the size of its downtown. For Rautio, tonight’s work session with the city council was a step in the right direction.
Some council members were cautious about doing another land development deal because the city of Bemidji is still an active player in getting the Lake Bemidji South Shore developed. However, the two projects are viewed differently.
The city of Bemidji purchased the rail corridor property back in 2003, since then little has been done to the property, with the exception of the public trail that passes through the land. Many view this project as a way build more taxable income for the city.
While breaking ground for the project remains in the distant future, tonight the Bemidji City Council took the first step by choosing to hire a consultant to assist in the process.
If the project was to go through, the City of Bemidji could see a property tax increase of $266,800 annually. No date has been arranged to make a purchase agreement for the property.