Will the inclusion of a trail component lead Crookston's
Castle Park grant application down the path toward being funded?

    Will the inclusion of a trail component lead Crookston's
Castle Park grant application down the path toward being funded?

    By December, City of Crookston officials should know. Parks & Recreation Director Scott Riopelle told the Park Board this week
that the city's third grant application seeking state funding through the Legacy Amendment is being finalized and will be sent in prior to the late October deadline.

    The main component of the comprehensive Castle Park grant since the first grant request has been the city's official campground, which would move to the park at the edge of Sampson's Addition from flood-prone Central Park.

    The grant request also includes a Red Lake River recreation area and other amenities, but as the years have passed, the city keeps adding more and more to the park in order to make it a "destination place." Amenities in place include the dog park, nature play space and new playground. All of it, Riopelle said, makes the city's application more attractive because of the increased local investment, which goes toward the required local match.

    Now, the hope is that the addition of a trail component will put Crookston's application over the top. The latest proposal includes 6,200 feet of recreational trail along the wet side of the levee that runs from Oak Court to Castle Park, Riopelle explained. "I think this would make it much more appealing for a Legacy grant," he said. "They seem to look more positively on stuff that has trails, and more trails are needed in our community."

    Riopelle said the inclusion of the trail component has pushed the project total to a little more than $500,000.

    If the grant is awarded, Riopelle said construction would take place in 2014 and would be complete in the summer of 2015.

More on trails

    Local officials continue to eye Crookston's south end, specifically the Fairfax Avenue area, for trail expansion, but it's not part of any grant proposal, Riopelle said. The city Trails Committee has met recently and plans to meet again, board member and Ward 5 city council member Dale Stainbrook said, adding that another desired trail location would run from McDonald's to the bypass and then tie into the backside of Castle Park.

    Stainbrook said he's hoping Crookston DNR Wildlife Officer Ross Hier will conduct a sort of "trails 101" session at a meeting next month.

Carolan Dog Park?

    Parks & Recreation Director Scott Riopelle asked the Park Board this week to consider naming the dog park in Castle Park after the person who made it happen, Gina Carolan. “Without her, we wouldn’t have that place,” Riopelle said of Carolan, who doggedly led the fundraising effort for the fencing and other expenses needed to construct the park. Carolan recently moved to Montana with her husband, Mike Vivion. Board members will likely make a decision at their October meeting.