The hope is pavement, curb and gutter spur interest from potential buyers

    Although they’re waiting to see an updated concept of what the residential subdivision near Crookston Sports Center will look like as the community’s growth to the northeast continues, members of the Crookston City Council this week took an initial step in the hope of spurring interest in eight City-owned home lots for sale by agreeing to call for bids on the improvement of the portion of Pirate Drive that runs in front of those lots with curb and gutter and a first-lift of pavement.

    They’ve been talking about doing so for weeks, since there isn’t much for potential lot-buyers to look at in the area. Working on a one-year contract with Century 21 Red River Realty, the eight lots are currently priced at the market rate. City Administrator Shannon Stassen gave the council’s Ways & Means Committee this week the option of waiting until a couple homes are built before improving the portion of Pirate Drive, or putting the street project out for bids now with an eye on doing the project this summer.

    The estimated cost, from Widseth Smith Nolting & Associates engineer Rich Clauson, is around $125,000. Stassen said in order to do the project this year, money would have to be transferred from the City Municipal Land and Building Fund.

    After getting assurances that the asphalt and curb and gutter would not have to be dug up later for any infrastructure work – the necessary water and sewer infrastructure is already underground and extending to the eight lots – council members unanimously approved putting the project out for bids.

    The only other concern was expressed by Ward 5’s Dale Stainbrook, who wondered if the council was setting a potentially difficult precedent by paving a new street and putting curb and gutter in before any lots are sold and any homes are constructed. “Will we have to do this again for the next set of lots, and will that cut us short on fund?” he wondered.

    Other council members said that might be a possible reality to be faced in order to spur interest in City-owned residential lots in the years to come in the new subdivision. Many lots in the nearby Evergreen Estates subdivision were slow to move until the City improved those streets, too, Ward 6 Council Member Tom Vedbraaten said. “If it’s gravel, you aren’t going to get much going in there,” he added.

    Ward 2 Council Member Steve Erickson, noting that WSN’s estimate was less than he thought it would be, echoed the sentiments that potential lot buyers have to have something attractive to look at when it comes to the new street. “Gravel and a mud hole is not going to sell a home lot,” he said. “Hopefully, we get a house up there, then two or three more. It’s a good investment in my opinion.”