Talk about ice rink scheduling at the CSC and an indoor play place, too.

    The Crookston Park Board voted to rename Highland Park Complex “Ray Ecklund Complex” at this week’s meeting. Parks & Recreation Director Scott Riopelle said he spoke with Ray and Ray said he would be “honored” to have it named after him. Riopelle added that the Park Board could have their main meeting there later this spring and do more of a “formal” gathering for the renaming.

    Parks & Rec plans on putting up new signage for the renamed park near the corner of Central Avenue North and Barrette Street, and possibly off the meridian near Barrette Street and Summit Avenue.

    “There was another reason behind the name change as people often wonder, if they’re going to an event at Highland Complex, if that’s behind Highland (Elementary) School, and now this would differentiate between the school and the complex.


    Ward 4 City Council Member Don Cavalier, who is also the council liaison for the Park Board, said someone brought up ice rink scheduling at the Crookston Sports Center during the council’s recent strategic planning session and mentioned “favoritism” for one group and not for others, and Cavalier wanted Riopelle to tell the “real story” to the Park Board. Riopelle said it was rumored that some people thought the upcoming hockey team for the University of Minnesota Crookston were going to get priority rink times over others, but the fact was that Riopelle gave the high school schedule to UMN Crookston’s new club hockey coach Steve Johnson to “work around.”

    “Steve has been good to work with and instead of having an issue we encouraged him to take a look and make changes, and, to avoid issues, (we) gave him the schedule up front so there won’t be a conflict,” Riopelle explained. “Our games (Parks & Rec hockey) can go into another rink when the high school and college are in and (we) can’t find a fairer way than giving it (the schedule) to them (UMN Crookston) up front and work around that.”

    Riopelle said in the past they haven’t had an issue and, if there were conflicts, they work them out with each other.

    “Practices shouldn’t be an issue either because college wants to practice in the mornings,” he added.


    Park Board Member Derek Martin mentioned at the end of this week’s meeting that a community member approached him about an indoor play place for toddlers. The community member said there really isn’t a place for families for young kids to “let out energy” and sent Martin a few ideas.

    “The first thing that came to my mind was the West Acres play place (in Fargo),” said Martin. “She wants to speak to the board in April; I don’t know if there’s any place like that in Crookston that the city owns and that would also be another expense.”

    Riopelle said Parks & Rec’s budget is already done for 2020, but they could look at the future. He added that the CSC has a small playground that is geared towards younger children and Parks & Rec Supervisor Scott Butt mentioned that, when they have turf in the gold arena, he tries to have open turf scheduled a couple times a week.

    Park Board Member Brigette Burzette-Deleon echoed Martin saying the same community member reached out to her and added that Early Childhood Family Education (ECFE) does have some events for young children each month.

    “People are traveling to Grand Forks to places like the Purpur Arena and the Grand Cities mall that have something like this,” Deleon continued.

    “Having a space like that for younger families could be more attractive for Crookston,” added Martin.