Park Board authorizes Riopelle to crunch the numbers with curling proponents.

Although it's not yet a done deal, Park Board members liked what they heard this week about continued discussions involving the launch of curling at Crookston Sports Center this winter, so those talks will now get down to the detailed number-crunching stage.

Parks & Recreation Director/CSC Manager Scott Riopelle said Crookston remains home to at least 24 curling enthusiasts who currently travel to Grand Forks to curl. Greg Widseth and Garrett Borowicz continue to push, on behalf of the group, for the birth of a curling program at the CSC. City Council Ward 2 representative Dana Johnson is also among the group of curlers who currently ventures to Grand Forks.

The plan, at least when curling was initially brought up some time ago, would appear to have approximately $25,000 allocated from the Protecting the Legacy fund to cover up-front equipment costs. The current curlers, who would likely form some type of curling association, would fund-raise to help cover other start-up costs, Riopelle explained, adding that the plan would be for the association, once the program is up and off the ground, to essentially be in charge from that point on.

Curling would take place on Wednesday evenings during the hockey and skating season, typically the quietest night for youth activities, and would take place in the Gold Arena.

Riopelle said a per-participant fee has not yet been established, but he mentioned $200 per person for the curling season as a starting point. Park board members, with a tight CSC and Parks & Recreation budget as things currently stand, don't want to add another program that's going to add more to the expense budget.

One of the primary start-up expenses is for the specialized ice shaving machine. The surface is then "pebble-ized," Riopelle said.

The board approved a motion authorizing Riopelle to hammer out more details with the curling proponents. "There's around 24 now, but the thought would be that this is the type of activity that would drum up more people as it gets going," Riopelle said.

"When we started this arena we talked about curling from the beginning," board member Kristy Morris-Leas said. "It's kind of a small-town thing, I think, but it's going to take some legwork by the curling association to get it started and help it grow."