Bemidji’s Stoner Avenue gets reprieve

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The Bemidji street called Stoner Avenue will keep its name — for now. The City Council has put on hold plans to change the name of the street.

The city has been plagued by repeated thefts of Stoner Avenue street signs. Some 15 signs disappear each year. City officials say they’ve probably spent close to $20,000 replacing the signs over the past decade.

But at a public hearing this week on the name change, Stoner Avenue residents convinced council members to table the issue. Residents complained that changing the name would be a hassle for the more than 40 property owners who live along the street, because they’d have to update their drivers license, as well as banking and other documents.

The city agreed to explore options to make the signs less vulnerable to theft, including using different types of screws or using taller sign posts. Some residents even suggested using video cameras to deter would-be sign thieves.

Stoner Avenue is named for Marcus Stoner, a man who surveyed much of the Bemidji area beginning in the late 1800s. Stoner was Bemidji’s first city engineer and Beltrami County surveyor.

Right now, about 10 Stoner Avenue signs are missing and need to be replaced.

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