Next fundraiser is Costumes for a Cause 5K Walk/Run May 25.

The Crookston City Council and the leaders of the Crookston Splash Park project, at a special Ways & Means Committee meeting Thursday evening, got on the same page, literally, when both parties agreed to the parameters of a "letter of understanding" detailing the park that's envisioned for Castle Park.

    The letter is necessary, Mayor Dave Genereux said, because Castle Park is a city park located on city property, and the city wants to make sure that all the bases are covered before it's constructed and operational.

    Splash Park leaders Shirley Iverson and Ann Longtin attended the meeting. They're estimating the park will cost around $180,000, with the costs almost split between the water "toys" and the costs to build it. Iverson said their hope is to start the request-for-proposals (RFP) process once they raise enough money for the toys because then they will have a better idea of how much actual monetary donations they'll need to construct it, and how much "in-kind" donations they could potentially receive, in the form of volunteer labor, donated materials or other items.

    Council members didn't raise any major red flags over that schedule, but stressed that they want splash park fundraising to continue even after the $180,000 goal is met in order to set a fund aside to cover operations and maintenance cost for at least its first three years of operation. Between water use and spring start-up and fall shut-down maintenance, it's expected to cost around $11,000 a year.

    Longtin said approximately $27,000 has been raised so far. The Crookston Area Community Fund, through its fiscal host, the Northwest Minnesota Foundation, is now available as a vehicle for donations to go through, Genereux added.

    Images of Castle Park, which the city is planning to move its campground to from Central Park, show the splash park located almost in the center of the park, below the upper flat area to the south, where the campground will be located, and just to the south of the dog park and to  the east of the nature play space. Iverson said it's their hope that as the park becomes more of a "destination place" various synergies can materialize that will have the park's many amenities financially supported and successful.

    "Right now we're all kind of segmented, with everyone kind of concentrating on the areas they're passionate about," Iverson said. "But I can see us combining our forces to see that we're all successful in the park."

    That might be already starting, she added, with talk of the water used in the park being collected and utilized in the planned "rain garden" in the nature play space. Details on that still need to be worked out, Parks & Recreation Director Scott Riopelle added.

    Ward 5 Council Member Dale Stainbrook suggested that once the campground is relocated to Castle Park some of the revenue from fees paid by campers go toward the splash park or other amenities in the park.

    Genereux said the council just wants to avoid any negative situations as the process continues. "You want to get moving, but we're going to need to know eventually how it's all going to get paid for," he said. "The last thing we want is the project half-started and then you have to stop until you get more money."

What’s up next
WHAT: Costumes for a Cause 5K Walk/Run
WHERE: Castle Street near Castle Park
WHEN: Saturday, May 25; registration begins at 8 a.m. and the event begins at 9 a.m.
DETAILS: It’s the next fundraiser for the splash park. Advance entry fee is $15 for those 11 and older and $10 for those 10 and younger. Fee is $20 on day of event. Those who pay in advance are guaranteed a t-shirt. Bring your pets, too. Prizes will be given for the best costumes. Registration form is available at the Longtin Agency on South Main or at Anytime Fitness. For more information call 280-3454.