That’s one of the primary agenda items at Tuesday evening working session

    The Crookston Housing and Economic Development Authority (CHEDA) Board of Directors Tuesday evening will conduct a working session, and chief on the list of items to be discussed is how to spend the $350,000 allocated to CHEDA by the Crookston City Council late last year to be invested strategically in initiatives that the CHEDA Board and CHEDA Executive Director Craig Hoiseth deem appropriate.

    Also on the agenda is “strategic management of Valley Technology Park operations and funds,” Hoiseth adds. CHEDA is housed at VTP and serves as the building’s landlord and manager.

    After a lot of debate, the city council in November 2018 approved, on a 6-2 vote, the allocation of the additional $350,000 to CHEDA in 2019. Votes against were spurred by concerns over a lack of details regarding what Hoiseth and CHEDA might spend the money on, and the fact that the council, for 2019, had already agreed to increase its stipend to CHEDA by $10,000, to $140,000, and had also approved a $50,000 allocation to CHEDA to launch the Building Better Business (B3) initiative.

    Although Hoiseth had previously articulated a “wish list” of things he’d potentially invest in if he had more money to work with, he subsequently removed several of the smaller, more specific investments from his list, in favor of larger, more sweeping potential investments that would impact economic development and/or housing in the community, and increase the tax base. At the time, he said he had a couple significant things possibly in the works, but was unable to comment publicly at the time out of concerns over jeopardizing the prospects for the two things.

    During the debate, one thing Hoiseth had publicly mentioned was that if given the opportunity, CHEDA would play a substantial role in trying to bring a large child care center to Crookston. In recent months, the former Sisters of St. Joseph’s Marywood Residence/Glenmore Recovery Center approximately a mile east of Crookston has emerged as a potential child care center, but would require some level of public investment to become reality. At CHEDA’s April meeting, Hoiseth was directed to come to the board’s May meeting with specific numbers in regard to what CHEDA and/or the City and/or the local business community would need to come up with financially, whether up-front or in the form of an ongoing subsidy, to open a child care center, and sustain it over the long-term.