He says more research needs to be done before city council takes up the matter

    The Crookston Park Board’s vote earlier this week to ban firearms at Crookston Sports Center was just an “early step” in a longer process that requires additional research into the matter and, likely, future discussions involving the Crookston City Council.

    That was the word from City Administrator Shannon Stassen when the Times asked if the Park Board’s vote on Monday amounted to the City’s final say on the subject of firearms at the CSC – and potentially other facilities such as Jim Karn Field or Highland Complex – or if the council, city attorney, law enforcement or anyone else would continue to delve into the potential legalities involving people licensed to legally carry concealed firearms being banned from doing so in City facilities or otherwise on City property.

    Before the council considers anything having to do with firearms being permitted or prohibited in City buildings or on City property, Stassen said additional research needs to be done. Following the Park Board meeting, the Times asked Parks & Recreation Director Scott Riopelle Tuesday morning if he felt the board’s action was final or if it would next go to the full council, and at that point Riopelle said that had yet to be determined.

    Readers who commented online on the story detailing the board’s vote to ban firearms at the CSC questioned the City’s legal standing to take such an action.

    The board took up the topic after The Big One Craft Fair at the CSC in October, when a man attended the fair while carrying a firearm plainly visible, with ammunition showing as well, Riopelle told the board. The man was removed from the CSC and, once outside, it was determined by law enforcement that he was legally licensed to carry. Riopelle told board members that if the man’s firearm wasn’t visible, it wouldn’t have been an issue.    

    Most official Park Board actions amount to a recommendation for the city council to consider, but the board lacks the influence it had years ago, when a super-majority vote of the council was required to undo a Park Board action. The super-majority requirement went away after the board voted for “Crookston Area Sports Center” as the name for Crookston’s new, three-ice rink sports facility, and the council voted to drop “Area” from the board’s chosen name. The Park Board is now more of an advisory board in nature.