Funds will come from the Railroad Fund that dates back to removal of Eighth Street Bridge

    Bob Altringer and Al Chesley of the Golden Link Senior Center board approached the Crookston City Council's Ways & Means Committee Monday evening to request the city's help after depleting their reserves and experiencing a cash balance shortfall.    

    "We're looking for some capital for help," said Altringer. "We had to borrow $25,000 elsewhere just to meet our bills."    

    Ward 2 Council Member Dana Johnson later motioned to pay the Golden Link $40,000 out of the Burlington Northern Railroad fund with no requirement to pay it back. The motion passed unanimously. The existence of the fund dates back to when the railroad removed the Eighth Street bridge. Putting in a new bridge was too expensive, so the BN gave the city money to compensate for the hardship of losing the bridge that connected the two neighborhoods on each side of the tracks.   

    Chesley gave the committee some background on the senior center before they talked about all the repairs done this year.    

    "We used to meet in the old Bethesda meeting room before we purchased the old Diamonds Night Club from Dennis Hasbrouck for $135,000," said Chesley. "The Golden Link then worked with the Park Board for operating funds and were paid quarterly $30,000 until they reduced it to $15,000 to help them out when they were having trouble. We helped them out, so why can't they help us now?"    

    "We have expended $58,900 for work on the building replacing the footings on the brick foundation and wall and then paid out $8,000 after we found water coming in the building from the alley," added Altringer.    

    City Administrator Shannon Stassen mentioned that the Park Board budget is doing well, but not well enough to give out the money asked. 

    "What exactly are you looking for?" asked At Large Council Member Wayne Melbye.    

    "We expect that our request to be back up to $30,000 for next year be granted and we need help getting back on our feet," answered Chesley.   

    "Are you $40,000 in the hole?" Melbye responded.    

    "After depleting our reserves and borrowing $25,000, we will also be hurting to pay our insurance this December," said Chesley.    

    "We're well aware you can't come up with $80,000 right now, we're looking for even $20,000-$25,000," added Altringer.    

    After discussion among the committee members with many of them agreeing that the Golden Link was worthy of helping, Ward Four Council Member Hector Santellanes suggested looking at the railroad fund for the money after Stassen informed them that its balance currently exceeds $300,000.    

    "It's time to invest in our seniors," said At Large Council Member Bob Quanrud.