Names come forward, first meeting eyed for January.

    A new task force that will explore ways to boost marketing efforts of Crookston Sports Center took another step closer to becoming a reality Monday when the Park Board endorsed a list of 10 or so people who have volunteered their services, or have been referred as potentially valuable members of the task force.

    In addition to including representatives from entities such as the Blue Line Club, Chamber of Commerce/Convention & Visitors Bureau and Figure Skating Club, others who will be asked via letter to serve on the task force include Mitch Bakken, Brent  Melsa, Bo Brorby, Kristi Thorfinnson, Nell DeBoer and Eric Morgan. Scott Riopelle and/or Scott Butt, from Parks & Recreation, will also be involved with the group that Park Board member Michelle Christopherson last month suggested be formed. It's likely that Christopherson will serve on the task force as well.

    City Administrator Tony Chladek suggested that one of the first things the new task force do is touch base with Chamber/CVB and Crookston InMotion leaders who have already been discussing ways to maximize the use and economic impact of the CSC. "You'd want to identify the group's role and its expectations and any policies you'd want to develop," Chladek said. "Then you'd want to identify strategies to achieve measurable outcomes."

    Chamber President/CEO Shannon Stassen said a goal from the CVB perspective would be to  increase "heads on beds" in local lodging facilities during months of lower activity, such as December through March. "We would continue to focus on our strengths, obviously, while also looking to bolster heads on beds where we have plenty of room for growth," Stassen said.

    Christopherson said it's very likely that at some point task force members are going to wonder if any financial resources will be available for new and/or enhanced marketing efforts. Chladek said he expects that issue to arise, too, at some point, and said once some CSC marketing strategies are identified and action plans are developed, financial resources will be addressed. "You'll have some partners sitting right there around the table," he said. "Maybe there will be some resources available that no one has any idea about right now."

    The goal, Christopherson said, is for the new task force to hold its initial meeting in January.