Sponsors to be sought for 48 curling rocks.

The launch of a curling league at Crookston Sports Center, after an update at Monday's Park Board meeting, seems to be nearing the imminent stage.

The hope, Parks & Recreation Director/CSC Manager Scott Riopelle said, is for a Wednesday evening league that will feature 12 teams, each with a four-person roster.

"It sounds really positive," Riopelle said, after his latest meeting with Greg Widseth, Garrett Borowicz and Dana Johnson, curling enthusiasts who currently travel to Grand Forks to curl but have been eyeing a program in Crookston since soon after the CSC opened in 2010. "They're real excited about it," he added, mentioning that Crookston residents have been calling city hall, wondering how they can get on a team. "A lot of people have called about it."

Similar to the fund-raising effort that made Gina Carolan's vision of a dog park in Crookston a reality, Riopelle said the city will serve as the flow-through entity for a curling fund-raising effort. A fund-raising letter is being drafted, Riopelle explained, with the idea being that an individual or business that, for example, donates a minimum of $250 would have his/her name or business name stamped on the handle of a curling rock.

It's been estimated that starting a curling program at the CSC will cost around $25,000. In addition to the fund-raising effort, the city is looking to off-set any start-up costs through participation fees. The fee amount that's been mentioned the most is $200, but Riopelle said Monday a specific amount has not yet been identified.

A curling rock costs around $320, he said, adding that the hope is a sponsor will be found for all 48 rocks.

Curling experts from Langdon, N.D. and Willmar, Minn. are being consulted as steps are taken toward the launch of Crookston's curling program later this fall, Riopelle said.

Curling would take place in the Gold Arena. Three curling matches could take place at a time. The ice would require special lines and an ice shaver that roughs up pellets that are spread on the surface. "We'd get the ice ready for the beginning of the day, and the idea is the association or whatever they form would be responsible for everything else the rest of the evening," Riopelle said.

The curling group is also looking to contact Crookston High School to see if some industrial technology students could potentially construct a rack to store the curling rocks somewhere in the Gold Arena so they cool, Riopelle said. "They can't be at room temperature," he said.

"This sounds like a real positive thing," Park Board Chair Larry Brekken said. "Let's go for it."