CACF committee agrees to cover half of the dehumidification cost with Protecting the Legacy funds

    The Crookston Area Community Fund Advisory Committee, after a lengthy discussion last Thursday evening, has agreed to cover half the cost of a dehumidification system for the Crookston Sports Center's Blue Arena.    

    The arena serves as the venue for off-season hockey tournaments from April to June and, as a result, has had a lot of condensation, largely due to the warmer temperatures outside.    

    Officials have expressed concern about rust and other damage all the moisture will eventually cause to mechanical equipment and other surfaces in the Blue Arena.   

    Crookston City Council members and city officials for months have been talking about installing a dehumidification system in the Blue Arena. With an estimated cost of $100,000, the idea since the beginning as been to seek the necessary funding from the Protecting the Legacy fund, which is coordinated by the CACF through the Northwest Minnesota Foundation and exists to purchase items for the CSC.   

    It's possible that the CACF committee's decision to cover only half of the dehumidification cost comes as somewhat of a surprise to council members and city officials. The council's Ways & Means Committee is scheduled to discuss the matter at its Monday evening. In his meeting memo, City Administrator Shannon Stassen states that the remaining cost will need to be funded by the city. As the CSC Budget Task Force continues to meet to discuss ways to reduce expenses at the sports center while also boosting revenue, Stassen states that "additional fees" will need to be considered to cover the city's share of the dehumidification expense.   

    The CSC Budget Task Force next meets Tuesday evening.   

    The task force will also likely continue a discussion that took place at last week's Park Board meeting that involved boosting advertising opportunities in the CSC. That could include sponsors of the blue stools that line part of the Event Arena, advertising on bathroom walls and in locker rooms.   

    The Crookston Blue Line Club would have to lead such efforts, as part of its CSC advertising contract with the city. The two entities split advertising revenue as part of the contract.   

    The Park Board also discussed the possibility that curling will be expanded to the Blue Arena next fall and winter, without impacting hockey for figure skating, since curling takes place on Wednesdays, a day with typically no hockey for figure skating practices. That's assuming, Park Board members said, that curling numbers remain strong.   

    Parks & Recreation Supervisor Scott Butt stated that the Crookston Youth Basketball Association has also asked about the possibility of installing a "sports floor" in a portion of the Gold Arena when the ice is gone and the turf is installed. Part of the dasher boards could be removed to make room for the sports floor, Butt said.    

   He estimated that such a floor would cost $4,000 to $7,000 a square foot, depending on the quality of the floor. The total cost would likely be around $50,000.