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Sanford Health Bemidji ‘shelves’ wellness center project

BEMIDJI, Minn. -- A proposed $27 million wellness center and sports complex for Bemidji has been put on hold indefinitely.

Bryan Nermoe, Sanford Bemidji executive vice president, said the plan to construct the facility on Sanford’s campus on the north side of the city has been “shelved.” The plan was to construct the Sanford Sports and Wellness Complex with three sections, including a wellness center with aquatic space, a multi-use sports facility with a bubble roof and a two-sheet ice arena.

But the plan hit stumbling blocks after it was introduced a year ago this month, mainly centered around the idea of a hospitality tax to help bring in revenue.

Bemidji Mayor Rita Albrecht said that the city was never formally requested to be a participant on the wellness center project, though.

“They never came before the Bemidji City Council with a formal request, or proposal for any particular partnership,” Albrecht said. “My sense is that there was an expectation that the city was going to have some part in this, but we never really understood what that role was, beyond the hospitality tax.”

Nermoe said the primary goal of whatever project comes together remains to expand the ability for at-risk and low-income youth and families to participate in wellness activities.

Matthew Liedke

Matthew Liedke is the city, county and state government reporter for the Bemidji Pioneer. He also covers business, politics and financial news.

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