RiverView leaders want directions to ER to be especially clear

    In applying for a conditional use permit to erect a large sign pointing people to RiverView Hospital and its emergency room along Highway 75 and South Minnesota Street, RiverView’s Chief Operating Officer Chris Bruggeman indicated in the application that not having such a sign located there amounted to a “safety risk to the public.”

    Why? Because, RiverView leaders say, people unfamiliar with the area that need to get to the hospital or, perhaps even more urgently, the emergency room, might not arrive as fast as possible because they aren’t exactly sure where to go. The proposed sign, 25 feet tall and 10 feet wide and lit up at night, should leave no uncertainties when it comes to getting to RiverView Hospital and its emergency room.

    “We want the red emergency arrow to be very visible,” RiverView CEO Carrie Michalski said.

    The City of Crookston Planning Commission this week approved the conditional use permit. It’ll likely be on the city council’s agenda for approval on Monday, June 25.

    Technically, the sign will be located on the vacant lot at the corner of South Minnesota Street and Hill Avenue, adjacent to the headquarters of Crookston Area Ambulance Service. Although RiverView owns the lot where the sign would go, it’s still considered an “off-premises” sign, which, according to City ordinance, requires a conditional use permit.

    City Building Official Matt Johnson said he previously sent out notices regarding RiverView’s permit request to property owners in the area, and, although he said he received a few inquiries in response, no one voiced concerns or complaints.

    Bruggeman said the area around the sign will be landscaped and will end up “looking better than it does now.”

RiverView rezoning request

    In addition, the commission approved a request from RiverView Health to rezone three lots it owns south of the hospital; one has a vacant house on it, one is a parking lot and one has grass. An alley-way separates the lots. Bruggeman said the house likely needs to be demolished.

    Johnson said the purpose of the rezoning request is to give the three lots the same zoning designation as the hospital property. Bruggeman said it would make it easier for RiverView to do some site/lot improvements on the three parcels.

    As with RiverView’s sign request, Johnson said he sent notices to property owners within 350 feet of the trio of lots, and was asked some questions as a result but heard no concerns or complaints.

    The rezoning requires an ordinance change, which requires a first and second reading at two consecutive city council meetings.