Although some Crookston residents think it's nothing less than depressing when old, historic yet longtime empty buildings are demolished downtown and eventually replaced with parking lots, there are others, downtown merchants primarily, who have long said parking for their customers downtown is sorely lacking.
On the heels of a recent Retail Merchants Association, At Large Crookston City Council Member Wayne Melbye told the city council's Ways & Means Committee this week that there are downtown merchants on the RMA who, while thrilled with all this talk about revitalizing downtown, continue to insist that more parking is needed.
It looks like the corner of Second Street and North Main, where the historic Wayne/Palace Hotel dominated the downtown skyline for generations until being demolished a couple years ago, will be home to a paved parking lot later this year. But Melbye said more is likely needed, and he mentioned the old Crookston National Bank parking lot on Robert Street for potential use by downtown consumers or people who live downtown, as well as the open space where the Z Place and Rock's Jewelry buildings stood until being demolished a few months ago as future parking options.
"The Z Place area needs to be discussed," Ward 3 Council Member Keith Mykleseth said, adding that Polk County still owns the property, however.
As for the former CNB parking lot, the bank building next door has been vacant since Eickhof Columbaria moved its entire operation to the former Phoenix Industries building in the industrial park. Paul Eickhof still owns the downtown building and adjacent parking lot. Melbye said maybe an arrangement could be worked out with Eickhof to allow for public parking on the lot.
Either way, Melbye indicated that some RMA members would potentially like to attend a future Ways & Means Committee meeting to discuss the need for more parking options downtown.