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By Ryan Jarvi 

Bessemer Planning Commission discusses new recreational trails

 

Ryan Jarvi/Daily Globe

BESSEMER PLANNING Commission chairman John Turkal, left, discusses possible city land uses with commissioner Bill Steiger and others at the group's meeting on Wednesday.

BESSEMER — Members of the Bessemer City Planning Commission discussed how the city can make use of its land by creating new recreational trails and selling some for commercial development during its meeting on Wednesday.

One portion of land that was discussed at the meeting is located near the southwest border of the city.

The area was described as being mostly wetlands, but because of higher elevation in certain parts, commission chairman John Turkal proposed the creation of a public trail.

He said the area could be developed for walking, running, camping or ATVs. Developing it as a recreational trail or park would also work somewhat as an extension of existing park systems north of U.S. 2, Turkal said.

Prior to any development, permits would have to be attained from the state because of the land’s wetland status.

“We can use those things for recreation, and why not at least make it open for the public,” he said. “It’s either that or, what are you going to do with it, you’re not going to get taxable income off of it.”

Commissioners also discussed the possibility of selling land to the east of town along U.S. 2 for commercial use.

“This is prime commercial property as far as I’m concerned,” Turkal said. “The economic benefits to the community is out of this world.”

Commissioner Ron Jacobson said no decisions are going to happen in one or two meetings and that it will be an ongoing process of discussion.

“We need to find out the hazards that are out there,” Jacobson said. “We need to know exactly where the wetlands are and where all this stuff is, and it’s going to cost money.”