More will follow as part of four-year initiative

    The Crookston Early Childhood Initiative has designated a need for park benches in Crookston’s many parks so mothers are able to sit and feed their infants and grandparents are able relax and enjoy watching their grandchildren play and explore.  

    The Crookston ECI applied for a Crookston Park and Recreation matching grant last spring. Around the same time, Crookston McDonald’s owner Cindy O’Keefe contacted the ECI and expressed interest in supporting a current ECI project wanted to publicize it during their grand re-opening this past summer after McDonald’s renovations.  

    As a result of the grant and this partnership, three new park benches are located at Evergreen Park, Wildwood Park, and Hoven Lane Park. The ECI, with funds from other donors, along with other possible grants, will continue with this project for the next four years.      

    The VISION of the Crookston Early Childhood Initiative is to help young children and their families to have access to supportive opportunities which allow them to love, learn, and thrive.  

    ECI priorities include valuing diversity: The park benches will provide a place for mothers to feed their infants while watching their older children play, as well as a place for people to rest in a comfortable place.

    • Promotes developmentally appropriate care and education: The benches will create opportunities for parents to care for the needs of young children and provide education and allow for some great discussions for families.   

    • Supports the social and emotional needs of young children: Young children will have the opportunity to develop physically, emotionally, socially, intellectually while using park structures, while allowing the adult to sit if needed.  

    • Supports coordinated services and resources: The collaboration between the ECI and Crookston Parks and Recreation ensures that the equipment will enhance parks that already exist and being utilized by families.

    • Encourages active, quality community group and business participation: The Parks and Recreation Department will help decide which parks are utilized the most and place benches in these parks first.