Relocating Alexander Park re-emerges as an option to free up more home lots

    Crookston City Administrator Shannon Stassen was given the “go-ahead” by the Park Board Monday to look deeper into in-fill housing options for the Alexander Park neighborhood after citing the “huge advantage” of pre-existing infrastructure (utilities) and opportunities of relocating and upgrading the current park’s playground equipment. Down the road, if things fall into place with developers, they would relocate Alexander Park, which currently sits at Alexander Street and 4th Avenue NE, to an area near the former Lincoln School.

    Stassen went on to say that he and Building Official Matt Johnson have done some “windshield tours” of the community to determine where, and if, more housing could be built, and identified several park areas including Alexander Park and Eugene Field on Woodland Avenue and Nelson Street. He reassured the board that he’s just looking for feedback from the group and would “hate” to put a bunch of work into it if everyone wasn’t on board.

    “It could be as many as five homes with potentially a million dollars in tax base,” Stassen explained. “We wouldn’t have a net loss in parks; we would just fill space that isn’t utilized to its maximum.”

    Park Board member Becky Kofoed said Alexander Park is in her neighborhood and there are a lot of young families with kids there. She says the park would be used more if it had a facelift. Parks & Recreation Director Scott Riopelle replied, saying they have talked to developers who would consider a new play structure to “enhance” Alexander Park and that the city would move the pre-existing swing set and pour a new slab for the basketball court.

    Currently, Alexander Park, according to the Funfinder, has swings, a slide, basketball court, climbing toys, rocking toys, green space, horseshoe court and a shelter.

    Several years ago, a developer building homes on the Lincoln School property offered to put a new playground on the property in exchange for being able to build homes on the Alexander Park property. The city council at the time was in favor early on, but an outcry from some neighborhood residents who said they’d hate to lose their park swayed enough council members to nix the proposal.