Hoiseth says ground will be broken this year.

    As members of the Crookston City Council, at a Ways & Means Committee meeting Monday evening, discussed the city's strategy to transfer some mileage from the city's "state aid" road system in order to make an extension of Sahlstrom Drive much more affordable, CHEDA Executive Director Craig Hoiseth was asked the obvious question, by Ward Six Council Member Tom Vedbraaten.

    "So when are they building?" he wondered.

    “They” would be Cobblestone Hotels, which needs the extended road on Crookston’s north end in order to make their hotel development here a reality.

    Choosing his words somewhat carefully, Hoiseth responded, "This year."

    There had been indications floating around in recent days that the push to build a Cobblestone Hotel and Suites just north of the Crookston Inn (formerly the Northland Inn) had cleared some hurdles, or at least ramped up in intensity. Last fall, Cobblestone announced its intention to build in Crookston on the parcel just south of the railroad tracks on Sahlstrom Drive, but there were many steps to be taken before that could happen, one of the biggest ones lining up investors.

    The Times spoke to Cobblestone's  Jessica Junker and John Seibert last week, and both weren't ready to say anything on the record about progress made on the company's plans for Crookston.

    Monday, Public Works Director Pat Kelly said Sahlstrom Drive needs to be extended all the way to U.S. Highway 2 (University Avenue), where it would have access to the westbound lanes. But with the project potentially approaching $200,000 in cost, Kelly said the city needs to leverage resources to build the road. So he found some state-aid mileage on Memorial Drive that he doesn't anticipate the city would need to spend there for many years, and on Monday the committee recommended council approval of the transfer of those miles to the Sahlstrom Drive project, a road that's eligible for state-aid dollars, Kelly said.

    Cobblestone would be assessed a minimum of $25 per front foot for the road project, and would also pay a utility hook-up fee.

    At the time of last October’s announcement, Cobblestone's Crookston development included a hotel with 44 rooms equipped with microwaves and refrigerators, and flat-panel TVs. The facility would also include a beer and wine lounge, meeting room, indoor pool, exercise equipment, guest laundry, outdoor grill area and convenience store.