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Crookston Times - Crookston, MN
  • Editorial: Will an RV park be successful, no matter the site? Not likely

  • Without delving into the debate over whether or not the City of Crookston or CHEDA should reimburse Jeremy and Sarah Jennen for some or all of their extra design-related costs when the plan was to put an RV park in Castle Park, now that the beloved park has been removed from the equation, what most people are wondering these days is, should Crookston continue its pursuit of an RV park anyway, but in another location?
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  •     Without delving into the debate over whether or not the City of Crookston or CHEDA should reimburse Jeremy and Sarah Jennen for some or all of their extra design-related costs when the plan was to put an RV park in Castle Park, now that the beloved park has been removed from the equation, what most people are wondering these days is, should Crookston continue its pursuit of an RV park anyway, but in another location?   
        City officials and community leaders seem to think Crookston still needs an RV park, even if it wouldn’t be located in Castle Park, and even if it would no longer house temporary American Crystal sugar workers during the fall harvest. (Willie Nephew has signed a five-year agreement to provide RV slots for Crystal workers for the next five years.)   
        If Crookston still needs an RV park and if an RV park here would be popular with travelers, then that means those who believe that “RV-ers” who travel around in their big rigs to camp are willing to camp just about anywhere know what they’re talking about.   
        But do they? It seems as though there are “RV people” and then there are non-RV people who just don’t understand the attraction. That’s especially the case when a natural setting, which was the prime attraction in Castle Park, is not part of the plan. “RV people” seem to think that all RV people want is full hookups for their big campers – meaning sanitary sewer, electricity, etc. – and that it doesn’t matter if the setting is urban in nature or if a huge square with dozens and dozens of RV slots has been carved out of a mundane piece of land featuring no real nature to speak of.   
        Maybe the author of this piece is simply a non-RV person, because that just seems like a tougher sell. Would all these tourists who can’t get into the jam-packed Red River Recreation Area along the river in East Grand Forks still jump at the chance to camp in Crookston if the setting is a far cry from Castle Park?   
        Unless a new site option emerges, there is nothing like Castle Park on the list of potential sites that city officials said they previously researched. The most natural setting and one that’s close to the river is off the Highway 75 bypass across from the Polk County Justice Center and near American Crystal Sugar. But if there is no temporary ACS worker component, are tourists going to want camp near a huge factory and across the road from a jail?   
    Page 2 of 2 -     Even if the Jennens keep pursuing an RV park somewhere else in Crookston, more local money is no doubt going to be needed. With just about every discussion around the city council table in one breath talking about the need to invest local dollars to grow and in the next breath talking about how tight the budget is, spending a lot of money on an RV park in a less than ideal location at this juncture seems a bit risky.
        

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