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Crookston Times - Crookston, MN
  • New to Crookston, Keillor fan envisions Lake Wobegon downtown

  • Rimar also suggests that bricks be sold to build structures in Downtown Square.
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  •     A new resident to Crookston who came here from New Mexico, but says he's "been around the world and back," has strolled down Broadway in New York City and Broadway in downtown Crookston.
        "But I didn't see any famous shows on Broadway in Crookston," he told members of the Crookston City Council at their meeting this week.
        So why bother having a major downtown Crookston artery named Broadway, Peter Rimar wondered. Instead, he said during the open forum portion of the agenda that starts every council meeting, the first thing the council should do is change the name of the street from Broadway to Garrison Keillor Avenue. Even more, said Rimar, who moved to Crookston in August and lives in the Woods Addition, the council should designate the entire downtown a Lake Wobegon historic district.
        Rimar attended the meeting after following progress on the new Downtown Square in the local media. He said the council should follow the lead of the baseball film, "Field of Dreams."
        "If you build it, they will come,." Rimar said. "But what this city lacks, in my opinion, is a vision...a marketing vision for your community."
        Keillor, a renowned author, speaker, and host of the iconic radio show, "A Prairie Home Companion," uses the fictional Minnesota town of Lake Wobegon as the setting of just about everything he creates.
        "One thing I knew about Minnesota before I came here was Lake Wobegon and Garrison Keillor," Rimar told the council. Crookston exists in the shadow of Grand Forks and Fargo, he continued, and when people ask themselves why they'd want to come to Crookston, the answer needs to extend beyond recreational activities or a University of Minnesota campus. "So what would be more Minnesotan than to designate your downtown a Lake Wobegon historic district?" Rimar wondered. It would be easy to say nice things about his idea but then not pursue it, he continued, bringing a farming analogy into the discussion. "Farmers have been planting a lot of seeds around here for a long time," he said. "Maybe it's time we planted this seed."
        As for the Downtown Square itself, Rimar said that if the city's goal is to build some structures, than the city should follow the lead of New Mexico, where people like to sell bricks when it's time to build something. "You buy a brick, you get your name or your business name on it, and pretty soon you have a lot of bricks, and some money, too," he said. "When I see a town this size that has a daily newspaper and a radio station, that tells me there is a business community that is willing to get behind things and support things."
    Page 2 of 2 -     After the meeting, council members got Rimar's contact information. At Large Council Member Wayne Melbye said city leaders would obviously have to look into how much of Rimar's idea they'd legally be allowed to pursue. "But it's definitely a different concept," he said of Rimar's ideas. "But maybe this is the kind of creative stuff that we should be looking into."

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