Next phase with Herkenhoff would involve Eickhof Blvd. extension, donation of 30-acre natural park encompassing two ponds

    The collaboration between the City of Crookston and developer Bob Herkenhoff in the town’s northeast corner – which began with Barrette Estates subdivision and has continued with Nature’s View Estates and the two cul de sacs currently being constructed immediately east of those homes – is being proposed to continue.

    As part of the City’s extension of Fir and Spruce lanes from Evergreen Estates across Barrette Street to their new terminations with the cul de sacs, Herkenhoff previously said he’d be willing to donate a 30-acre natural park to the City. When he first started building homes along Eickhof Boulevard nearby, Herkenhoff used the borrow pit dating back to the construction of Highland Middle School for a man-made pond behind some of those homes. As part of the next phase involving the cul de sacs, Herkenhoff has dug a second pond, and  he thinks it would make an ideal natural, outdoors amenity that he’d like to donate to the City, in exchange for the City constructing an extension of Eickhof Boulevard to Fisher Avenue. Currently, as Eickhof Blvd. wraps around the first pond toward the northeast, it ends in a gravel road that eventually meanders its way further to the northeast before it reaches Fisher Ave.

    In Herkenhoff’s proposal, he asks the City to contribute 870 feet of road and infrastructure, from the end of the current bituminous surface on Eickhof Blvd. to Fisher Ave. He estimates the total cost would be approximately $170,000. He states that, with Polk County scheduled to add turn lanes on Fisher Ave. in the area in 2020, now is the time to capitalize on the turn lane access.

    The Crookston City Council’s Ways & Means Committee is set to discuss Herkenhoff’s proposal Monday night, July 8. In his meeting memo to the council, City Administrator Shannon Stassen makes no recommendation; he simply states the matter is up for discussion.

    Fourteen new residential lots, as part of the Eickhof Blvd. extension, would be created adjacent to the new pond. Herkenhoff states in his proposal that “housing requests in this area remain strong.” Like the first pond to the south, the new pond been stocked with a variety of fish. Stassen notes that fish in the first pond have thrived over the years due to Herkenhoff feeding them and aerating the water. The ponds are catch-and-release only, and have grown in popularity with anglers.

    The cul de sac plan includes an easement for pathways toward the second pond and what would be the natural park. Stassen indicates in the memo that maintenance for such a park would be minimal, with maintaining the gravel paths, aerating the ponds and food for the fish being the primary needs. Future fish-stocking would be an additional expense. Bluegills and perch reproduce natural in the ponds currently, he continues, but walleye and other species may need to be restocked periodically in the future. The area is home to native grasses and would not require mowing. The 30-acre park, which would encompass both ponds, would be accessible to the public, just as any other City park and “create a very unique amenity,” Stassen states.