Fee also pitching an incentive for new signage; Hoiseth says he’s on board as long as new initiatives are sufficiently funded

    Since he was elected to the Crookston City Council in 2016, whenever council members and city officials have discussed potential initiatives for the city to invest in for the benefit of the community, Ward 1 representative Jake Fee has pushed for some kind of business incentive program, specifically, something to encourage new, startup businesses in town.

    He voiced his refrain again when the council held its daylong strategic planning retreat recently. Fee told the Times recently he thinks his ideas were well-received by his colleagues.

    “I want to focus on supporting businesses, attracting businesses and supporting entrepreneurship,” he said. “Starting a new business can be overwhelming and I believe if we can offer some assistance to help them get started, more people may take the risk of starting a business.”

    Fee said he wouldn’t mind adding a little extra incentive for Crookston High School or University of Minnesota Crookston graduates who are interesting in launching a small business venture in the community.

    Somewhat related to that, but also possibly as part of an effort to show greater support for existing businesses, Fee wants the council to consider an incentive to businesses that purchase new signage or otherwise improve their existing signage. “It would help businesses be more visual and have more curb appeal,” he said.

    Fee knows that funding is the biggest hurdle, but he’s encouraged.

    “I know Shannon (City Administrator Shannon Stassen) and Craig (CHEDA Executive Director Craig Hoiseth) will be working hard on seeing if we can do this, and I hope something can be brought forward sometime this year,” Fee told the Times. If the City’s revenue budget is depleted a bit as a result, he said it would be worth it because Crookston would have more businesses and jobs as a result.

    Hoiseth told the Times he’s fully supportive of Fee’s ideas, as long as the City is willing to allocate sufficient funds to get something off the ground and sustain it.

    “(CHEDA) is more than happy to introduce and administer such programs, but not if they won’t be funded properly,” Hoiseth said.