Both groups want dollars invested in downtown projects

    The Crookston City Council Ways & Means Committee voted to remove the requirement to pay stipends to the Downtown Crookston Development Partnership during Tuesday’s meeting after hearing from the DCDP in early November that they eliminated the facilitator position and hope to focus funds on projects they would like to see completed in the downtown area.

    Mayor Wayne Melbye said he met with the DCDP and, while they’re putting the “kibosh” on the agreement, they wish to “keep it going” and for the City Council to still consider help with projects. He says he hopes they work hand-in-hand with Crookston Housing & Economic Development Authority to find available programs.

    “It seems like everybody is still fired up to help them,” Melbye told the Council. “It (funds) will be more need-based instead of socking it away.”

    “We would get more input on some of their projects they’d do and funds could be funneled through the CHEDA board,” he added. “There you have another group to look at their projects.”

    In 2016, the City Council passed a resolution to provide an annual stipend to the DCDP for a facilitator. The DCDP announced during last month’s Ways & Means meeting that they didn’t have any intentions of refilling the position. City Administrator Shannon Stassen, in Tuesday’s Ways & Means meeting agenda memo, says that “it is not allowable for the City to provide the stipend for the years 2017 and 2018” and recommended they amend the resolution to remove the requirement to pay the stipends, $40,000 for 2017 and $35,000 for 2018. He also mentioned that the Council did have discretion to access reserve funds at a later date for projects that may be presented by the DCDP and deemed “beneficial” to downtown development efforts.  

    Mayor Melbye commended the DCDP on the recent addition of downtown alleyway lights between China Moon and Joyful Heart Photography, and on the north side of the Fournet Building, and council members echoed his commendations. Melbye added that the group is “not dead” and are just reorganizing.