Although it seems unlikely that the Red Lake River in Crookston would rise enough to inundate Central Park for the second time this spring, Parks & Recreation Director Scott Riopelle told the Park Board Monday that the park will likely remain closed for a few more days.
Staff have finished washing a lot of the mud left over from the receded river water, he said, but some logs still need to be moved. Crews won’t be restoring electrical service entirely to the park until he knows for sure that it won’t flood again, Riopelle added.
National Weather Service hydrologists are projecting that the Red Lake River in Crookston will rise to around 17 feet Wednesday and into Thursday, the result of runoff from the constant, sometimes heavy rains that have fallen in recent days. The river would need to reach the 20 to 21 foot range to inundate Central Park.
With the Memorial Day weekend approaching, campers would like to camp in the park and anglers would like to fish from the pier. Riopelle said he understands that, but he wants to avoid having to set things up like electricity, only to have to take it all down again or have it damaged by floodwaters.
As for the fishing pier, he said the river remains high enough that the water circulates around where the pier would be and would deposit a lot of sediment. Anglers also like to park on the dike, he added, which would result in a big mess, considering how wet and muddy everything is.
With the weather looking like it’s going to dry out starting on Wednesday, Riopelle is hopeful the park will be open in time for the long holiday weekend. “The rain is actually helping to wash things off a little bit,” he said. “We just want to be certain on what the river is going to do.”