City will keep improving park, tweaking application, and resubmitting.

    The City of Crookston's second attempt to secure a Legacy Amendment grant totaling around $400,000 to move the city's campground from Central Park to Castle Park and add other amenities there has struck out a second time, but Parks & Recreation Director Scott Riopelle says the city won't necessarily be "out" if they strike out a third time next year.

    "There are people who have been denied five times before they've gotten any money," Riopelle told the Park Board this week. "Everyone is told to keep applying no matter what."

    Meanwhile, the city continues to try to enhance its grant application by adding amenities to Castle Park through local sweat equity and local sources of funding. The park is currently home to new playground equipment, a natural play space that continues to grow and evolve, and a dog park. But moving the campground remains the big ticket item, and there's a Red Lake River "recreation area" component as well.

    Riopelle said there was around $7 million available in the latest grant round, and approximately $60 million in grant applications were submitted. Crookston is part of a coalition with East Grand Forks, Thief River Falls and other greater Minnesota cities that are seeking more Legacy investments in out-state Minnesota, instead of the bulk of the dollars funding metro-area initiatives. "The metro people, of course, want more, with less out-state," Riopelle said. "But I think we're making strides."

    In the meantime, efforts will continue to proceed in Castle Park and the city's grant proposal will be tweaked again in advance of a third submission, he said.

    • Progress continues to be made on a yoga class to be taught at Crookston Sports Center by Heidi Castle. A wellness grant from the Polk County Statewide Health Improvement Program (SHIP) is helping to purchase mats and other items, Riopelle said. The idea is that the classes would be free of charge, but that free-will donations from participants would be donated to local initiatives like the food bank or animal shelter. The "sponsorships" would pay for instructors, he said.
    "It's new thinking, kind of out of the box," he said, adding that the initial thinking is that classes might run for six to eight weeks. But if they're especially popular they might be ongoing.

    • Progress also continues to be made on getting an archery program in the CSC. University of Minnesota, Crookston students who have an Archery Club are leading the effort, since they've lost their space on campus that they used previously for archery during the winter months. An enclosure in the CSC is being  envisioned for safety and security purposes, Riopelle said.
    Parks & Recreation Supervisor Scott Butt said that once the UMC club is operating in the CSC, it will be easier to expand it into a Parks & Rec program for the whole community that could eventually involve archery tournaments. "You need marshals there at all times and there are very specific things that need to be set up," he said. "They're eager to get going, and we're excited to get a community program going once they're up and running."

    Read Friday's sports for updates on what the Crookston Baseball Association and Crookston Blue Line Club are up to.
    Follow Mike Christopherson on Twitter @crookstontimes and @mjceditor.